Need a Behavioural Change, a “Jan Andolan” to deal with Pandemics: Dr Rajiv Kumar, Vice Chairman, Niti Aayog

New Delhi: India Inc needs to adopt a hyper-local approach to assist local agencies to improve local governance capabilities in these challenging times, according to Dr. Rajiv Kumar, Vice Chairman, NITI Aayog.

Speaking at an e-interactive session today, on ‘Opportunities for CSR during and post COVID-19’ organised by the National CSR Network (NCN), Dr Rajiv Kumar urged corporates to pay greater focus on Swachchta++ programmes like Preventive Care and Fit India Movement and bring them into their social mode of activities. He further said, “This will be necessary to bring about behavioural change in the people in maintaining social hygiene and creating a “Jan-Andolan” to deal with such pandemics in future”.

In his address as Chief Guest, Dr Rajiv Kumar said “There is an acute need for a collaborative approach amongst the Government, Industry and Civil society to build trust, partnership and work together for the national cause”.

NCN released a survey report at the meeting in the context of COVID – 19, with a focus on ‘current interventions under the CSR activities; support required by corporates from stakeholders and CSR road map for the next 12 months’.

“Post COVID-19, corporates have emphaised to focus on three sustainability priorities viz World without Waste (WWW), Sustainable Agriculture and Water Stewardship – this emerged as one of the key takeaways of NCN – Vekommunicate Survey report”, Mr T S Vishwanath, Principal Adviser, APJ-SLG Law Offices and Co-Founder, VeKommunicate said at the meeting while sharing the details of the survey report.

Dr Rajiv Kumar complimented the findings of the study jointly done by National CSR Network and Vekommunicate that identified gaps and challenges faced by the industry in their CSR spending and projects. He expressed satisfaction over the active participation of industry and corporates through their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) efforts during these challenging times of coronavirus pandemic.

Mr. P Dwarakanath, Chairman, Advisory Council, National CSR Network, lauded the efforts of the Honourable Prime Minister, Shri. Narendra Modi and NITI Aayog for taking strong proactive measures to safeguard the lives of our citizens during the Coronavirus pandemic and also working closely with global leaders and other international bodies for the larger global human cause. Stewardship opportunities under Make-in-India for production of PPE/medical equipment and increase the budget for healthcare sector is need of the hour. He further added that accelerating existing partnership between companies and non-profit organisations, will be better for the success of CSR initiatives in these challenging times.

Speaking at the session, Mr Vishwanath while presenting findings of the study said, “We received responses from manufacturing industries, services sector and NGOs. Most of the CSR efforts by the industry are directed towards donations to PM Cares Fund and State CM’s Relief funds and providing food, grocery, other essential items, healthcare needs, sanitization, quarantine facilities, medical equipment, etc.”

The study highlighted the need for building National CSR roadmap aligned with national priorities, maintaining continuity of existing projects through the use of technology, financial assistance, support for robust healthcare initiatives, planning measures towards resettlement and rehabilitation of the underprivileged communities.

Addressing one of the survey questions, the respondents further mentioned that “NCN can play an enabling role with the Government, Corporates and NGOs to highlight and address industry specific issues. NCN can sensitise the government to bring out specific standard operating measures (SOPs) for SMEs, Start-ups and for women entrepreneurs.”

Ms Rinika Grover, Head CSR and Sustainability, Apollo Tyres emphaised on identifying and tapping critical areas of the intervention on an immediate basis. She said, “In the present situation, adapting and responding to the priorities is emerging as the new business normal. The Government and industry should work in tandem and work towards holistic solutions to combat COVID-19.”

NCN organised the online interactive meeting wherein NITI Aayog Vice Chairman Dr Rajiv Kumar; Mr P Dwarakanath, Chairman, National CSR Network; Mr T S Vishwanath, Principal adviser, APJ-SLG Law Offices and Co-Founder, VeKommunicate and Ms Rinika Grover, Head CSR & Sustainability, Apollo Tyres expressed their views on the subject and engaged with the participants.

Today’s e-interactive session had an overwhelming online participation with around 250 participants from across corporates, start-up groups, NGO’s and Media from all parts of India.

The NCN is an initiative of Strategic CSR Alliance – a section 8 company, set-up in 2015, with the vision to “Empower Companies for Meaningful Social Development” and has successfully brought together corporates, NGOs and government agencies to forge CSR partnerships for greater impact.