CSR is an opportunity to work with like-minded partners for betterment of society: Anurag Thakur

New Dehi: Mr Anurag Thakur, Minister of State for Finance and Corporate Affairs, Govt of India, today marked his presence at the 18th FICCI CSR Awards virtual presentation ceremony where 8 companies were conferred with the FICCI CSR Awards, 8 companies with Jury Commendation Certificates and 18 finalists were acknowledged with an appreciation Plaque.

Mr Thakur said that CSR is an opportunity to work with like-minded partners for the betterment of the society at large. Business cannot be successful if the society around you does not prosper. A well planned and well-executed CSR activity can help in fostering a strong bond between the company and its people. It also helps in developing a deeper human connection. He added that the consumers now are also aware and they like to align with companies that invest their time, money and efforts in creating a sustainable environment for all.

Mr Thakur said that CSR is the most pertinent means for corporates to connect with their audience. Setting up a plant at any location, not only helps the immediate locality but the country at large by the industry’s contribution in uplifting and helping the poor. He added that corporate from diverse sectors have been recognized and rewarded today for contributing towards social good.

The Minister said that in the unprecedented times of COVID-19, the government has responded decisively with a strong approach and the need is to strengthen participation from the private sector. He added, ?I would urge each one of you, to do your bit in this battle against coronavirus.? Mr Thakur also discussed, in detail, the initiatives of the government in the space of CSR and the amendments made to the CSR Act to decriminalize some of its provisions.

Dr Sangita Reddy, President, FICCI, said that the applicant companies showcased exemplary CSR projects being implemented in remote parts of India on issues ranging from skill development for marginalised youth, to digital and financial inclusion of women, to access to quality education for children with disabilities, creating livelihood through environmentally sustainable strategies. ?I am delighted to share that FICCI was the first business chamber in India to recognise the importance of CSR for inclusive and sustainable development of India in the background of a globalised world,? she added.

Dr Reddy said that through the FICCI Aditya Birla CSR Centre of Excellence, we deliberate on various topics impacting our society and build capacities of NGOs and CSR professionals. Highlighting the work of FICCI in the CSR space, she added, ?I take this opportunity and invite the government and various business houses present here to support us in our various endeavours for collective shared impact.?

Mrs Rajashree Birla, Chairperson, FICCI CSR & Community Development Committee and FICCI-Aditya Birla CSR Centre of Excellence said that this is the time to focus on redesigning and creating market-based solutions to alleviate poverty. This is the time for new innovations, potentially transformative solutions that complement and tackle social issues, fuel economic growth and make a difference to the lives of 1.3 billion people. She added that coordinated effort amongst stakeholders is needed to emerge out of the pandemic situation.

Mrs Birla said the CSR platform, through leveraging the demographic dividend that the rural and urban poor offer, can be a good vehicle for this transformative growth trajectory. This way we could see that the goods are produced locally and consumed globally. In doing so, we will be aligning well with the Prime Minister’s call for the promotion of ‘Vocal for Local’ and ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’.

Alluding to the process of shortlisting and finalizing the winners of FICCI CSR Awards, Mr Amit Chandra, Jury Chair, Co-Chair, FICCI CSR & Community Development Committee and MD, Bain Capital India Ltd., said that this year is the 18th edition of the FICCI CSR Awards and the selection process was extremely competitive, and was assessed by an eminent jury through a 3-tier assessment process. For the year 2018-2019, 90 applications were received for the FICCI CSR Awards, 47 were shortlisted for onsite assessment and finally 34 were further shortlisted for the jury interaction.

Highlighting the importance of CSR activities and role of NGOs, Mr Chandra said that thousands of NGOs are struggling today after being hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. He urged the government to take note of such NGOs and resolve their issues so that they can continue to support the social initiatives.

Mr Dilip Chenoy, Secretary General, FICCI said that FICCI will continue to urge the industry to contribute effectively towards CSR activities beyond the mandated CSR spent by companies.