Education and job skills get a CSR boost from Indian IT firms

Technology companies are also allotting more of their social budgets to regions beyond their headquarters, according to a Nasscom Foundation report

Paramita Chatterjee
Published: Mar 22, 2017 07:54:27 AM IST
Updated: Mar 22, 2017 04:43:46 PM IST

Education and job skills get a CSR boost from Indian IT firms
(From left) Forbes India’s Paramita Chatterjee; Debjani Ghosh, MD, South Asia, Intel Corporation; Gaurav Dwivedi, CEO, MyGov, and Dr Harsh Vinayak, senior vice president, NTT DATA

As Indian IT companies vouch for sustainability and corporate social responsibility (CSR) to create a socially inclusive and equitable India, a major chunk of their mandatory spending on CSR goes into education and employable skills, says a report by Nasscom Foundation, a social arm of the IT/BPM industry body Nasscom.

Titled ‘Catalysing Change Through CSR’, the report reveals that about half of the IT companies interviewed spent 60-70 percent of their CSR budgets on education initiatives in 2015-16, while the remaining half spent about 30-40 percent of their budget on education during the same period.

“Education and employable skills are key to [solving] most of India’s social problems. An industry which has grown solely by investing in knowledge and key skills realises the difference a skilled society can make and therefore, a major chunk of CSR funds has been allocated to education and employable skills,” says Ganesh Natarajan, chairman, Nasscom Foundation. He was speaking at the CSR Leadership Conference organised by Nasscom Foundation in Delhi on February 22.
The report also states that India has the largest number of illiterate adults in the world and that the dropout rate in schools continues to be high due to insufficient investment in education.
IT companies are also spending their CSR budgets on health care, agriculture and environment, according to the report.

“CSR is not PR [public relations]. If a company is able to focus on its core strength and use it for a social cause, the effort is maximised,” says Gaurav Dwivedi, CEO at MyGov, a citizen engagement platform of the central government.

The report also notes that companies are now increasingly looking to invest in geographies outside their headquarters.

Mona Charif, senior vice president and chief marketing officer at NTT DATA, tells Forbes India: “As a top 10 global business and IT services provider, NTT DATA is committed to the communities where our employees work and live. We’re proud to provide technology and services in regional and pan-India programmes that help improve the quality of life for infants and children.”

Chipmaker Intel Corporation has made CSR a part of its business. “For our annual bonus, one of the targets is linked to CSR initiatives. This is in addition to the usual business goals,” says Debjani Ghosh, managing director, South Asia, Intel Corporation. “It’s also a part of our culture. From hiring to our code of conduct values, CSR is extremely important and we encourage volunteering,” she adds.

(This story appears in the 31 March, 2017 issue of Forbes India. To visit our Archives, click here.)

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