SustainabilityNational Seminar on ‘Role of Corporate Foundations (CSR) in Inclusive Development’

National Seminar on ‘Role of Corporate Foundations (CSR) in Inclusive Development’

"Exploring the Impact: National Seminar on ‘Role of Corporate Foundations (CSR) in Inclusive Development’ at JMI"

Department of Commerce and Business Studies, Jamia Millia Islamia (Central University), New Delhi in collaboration with ‘The Policy Times’ organized a National Seminar on ‘Role of
Corporate Foundations (CSR) in Inclusive Development’ on December 22, 2018, at
Auditorium, Faculty of Engineering, JMI. Prof. Furqan Qamar, Secretary General, Association
of Indian Universities (AIU) graced the occasion, as the Chief Guest.

The panellists and speakers comprised eminent personalities from NGOs, Government
officials and corporate entities like Tata Trust, Bharti Foundation, etc. There were more than 200 participants from NGOs, Industry and academia. The seminar was divided into 3 sessions.

Prof. Ravinder Kumar, Head, Department of Commerce and Business Studies, JMI in his
welcome address emphasized the role of corporate foundations in the development of
underprivileged sections of society through Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities. Mr. Akram Hoque Founder Editor, ‘The Policy Times’, in his introductory remarks, highlighted the status of development through various community-based organizations, particularly Al- Ameen Mission. Mr. Nurul Islam, Founder General Secretary of Al-Ameen, gave a brief description of Al-Ameen’s mission and presented the various initiatives undertaken so far.

The Chief Guest, Prof. Furqan Qamar, Secretary-General, Association of Indian Universities
(AIU) in his keynote address highlighted the importance of education in inclusive development. He explained the significance of quality education as the very base of pillars of democracy. He added that the main challenge in our country is to expand the capacity of the education sector and at the same time improve the standards of quality. Capacity, quality and affordability of education were the key points; he expressed to be worked upon. Prof. Qamar emphasized the need to have more public funding in education and also urged the corporate sector to come forward and invest more in the education sector of India.

The inaugural session was focused on the role of corporate foundations in inclusive
development. The panellist and speakers include Dr. Zafar Mahmood, Chairman, Zakat
Foundation of India, Dr Anthony Raju, Advocate, Supreme Court and Global Chairman- All India Council of Human Rights, Liberties and Social Justice, Ms Mamta Saikia, Chief Operating Officer, Bharti Foundation and Mr H. Abdur Raqeeb, Trustee, Human Welfare Foundation.

The session was focused on understanding the fundamental problems the society is facing. The focus was sustainable and inclusive development and the role and importance of media in this context. The session highlighted that the focus should shift from profit-making to creating values and generating prosperity for all.

The first technical Session was focused on ‘CSR-NGO Partnership: Assessing Strength and
Impact in Inclusive Development’ Chaired by Prof. Attam Prakash, Visiting Faculty JMI &
Former Faculty, IIFT. The Panelists and speakers include; Ms. Ira Singhal, IAS, SDM of Alipur Sub-Division, North Delhi, Dr. Harish Krishnaswamy, Chief Operating Officer, Tata Trusts, Dr. Raj Agrawal, Director–CME, All India Management Association, Prof. Ranjan Mohapatra, Chief Editor-CSR VISION & Chairman-VISION Foundation and Mr. Vikas Bhatia, Head CSR, Chambal Fertilizers and Chemicals Limited.

The session highlighted the case of rural women, people with disability, transgender, etc. not getting enough opportunities. The panellists discussed that social responsibility has become an integral part of the corporate sector. The main challenges discussed were a lack of collaboration between NGOs, and business houses and a lack of professionals. The speakers emphasized that corporate have management skills, NGOs have passion and people, and the government has a wider reach and regulatory power these 3 sectors through collaborative efforts will be able to build a sustainably developed nation, India has always dreamt of.

The last session on ‘Planning Beyond statutory CSR Obligations & Suggesting a Policy
Framework, Chaired by Prof. Attam Prakash, Former Professor, IIFT and Co-Chaired by Dr.
Naseeb Ahmad, Associate Professor, Department of Commerce and Business Studies, JMI. The Panelists include Prof. Ujjwal K Chowdhury, Head – The School of Media at Pearl Academy and Mr. Abdul Rashid Agwan, President, of the Institute of Policy Studies and Advocacy.

The session started with an important fact that India went down by 43 positions in the ‘World Giving Index’. The speakers highlighted that there is a gradual decline in donations and charity in India. Further, they added that only a few companies are participating in CSR. 50% of the amount comes from the top 10 companies. The major problem that they talked about is how business firms have started with their own foundations and donations are made only to these foundations. The experts advocated that the companies should go beyond 2% mandatory compliance. They highlighted that CSR has moved from a charity-based to a compliance-based model and now there is a need to move from a compliance-based model to a commitment-based model.

To sum up, the experts emphasized the importance of collaboration among various parties
involved in CSR. It was highlighted that the country needs models which are scalable, replicable and sustainable. The speakers gave various suggestions as to how the corporate sector can contribute through CSR beyond the statutory obligations.

The seminar ended with a vote of thanks offered by Mr Akram Hoque, Founder and Editor, of The Policy Times’.

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