“we have always believed that CSR must not be seen as mere philanthropy. In fact we believe that it needs to be merged with the core business vision and goals. Ever since its inception, NTPC has been a responsible Corporate Citizen”-says Arup Roy Choudhury, CMD, NTPC in an interview with Tarun Sharma, Editor-in-chief
Sh. Arup Roy Choudhury, CMD, NTPC in an exclusive interview with Tarun Sharma, Editor-in-chief
Editor: Over the years the nature of CSR activities has changed from mere philanthropy to the overall development of the society. In this context how has CSR evolved at NTPC Limited?
CMD: During the early 70s, when CSR was still at a nascent stage, companies carried out welfare activities which were of a philanthropic nature. Today, companies are reaching out to the underprivileged and initiating policies that aim at the overall socio-economic development of the individual. Welfare activities are being carried out in every sphere be it education, health or community development. Today, the environment is facing threat from industrial development and many corporates have launched schemes that aim at the preservation of environment.
As far as NTPC is concerned, we have always believed that CSR must not be seen as mere philanthropy. In fact we believe that it needs to be merged with the core business vision and goals. Ever since its inception, NTPC has been a responsible Corporate Citizen. Right from the beginning we have been involved in Community Development activities. Since 1980, we have had Policy Guidelines for providing facilities to Land Oustees. In 1993 we came out with a Comprehensive R&R Policy first of its kind,which was subsequently revised in 2005 and 2010 in line with National Policy on R&R. Exclusive CSR- Community Development Policy was brought out by NTPC in 2004 and revised in 2010 as per guidelines of CSR issued by Department of Public Enterprises.
Most of our projects are at remote locations of the country, we have therefore initiated numerous CSR activities that have helped to raise the standard of living of the people.
NTPC concentrates on overall Community Development and improvement in the quality of life of neighborhood population with focus on providing support in infrastructure, education and health in line with our vision to Power India’s Growth.
Editor: Can you share with us some of the innovative welfare activities that you have launched recently? What impact have they had on the society?
CMD: NTPC has always been initiating policies that aim at welfare and upliftment of the poor and deprived sections of the society. I would like to draw attention to some of our pioneering work in the area. We have undertaken Community Development activities in the neighbourhood of our power stations. This has been done in consultation with all stakeholders after detailed Need Assessment / Base Line Survey. We have identified thrust areas like education, health, sanitation, drinking water, sports, vocational training, Community infrastructure etc.
Emphasizing on the importance of enhancing the skills of the youth and to create a talent pool to improve the availability of skilled manpower for the Industry, NTPC is constructing an International Institute of Information Technology (IIIT) in Chhattisgarh. We are supporting for the construction of Engineering College in Korba (Chhattisgarh) and Bilaspur (Himachal Pradesh). NTPC has adopted 17 ITIs and is setting up 08 New ITIs in the neighbourhood area of the green field projects based on the requirement to improve the availability of skilled manpower for industry. Solapur Power Training Institute set up by NTPC near its Solapur Power Project in Maharashtra has started functioning. In order to bring quality health care to the doorstep of the villagers in remote locations, NTPC has started Mobile Medical Clinic “Health on Wheels” and Directly Observed Treatment (DOT) centres for diagnosis and treatment of tuberculosis patients in the neighbourhood of our operating Stations and Projects., Renovation and refurbishment of District Hospital in tribal dominated Sundargarh District in the State of Odisha are being taken up. Further, NTPC has set up 6 Information & Community Technology (ICT) centres for physically and visually challenged students and a Disability Rehabilitation Centre (DRC) at Tanda for the benefit of physically challenged persons, which help them to overcome their ability disorder. Keeping the bigger framework in mind, a lot of new CSR initiatives are under planning stage.
Editor: For any CSR activity to be a success it is imperative for employees to be actively involved. How do you motivate your employees to take up CSR activities?
CMD: It is true that for any CSR initiative to be a success, there should be zeal among the employees to do something for the society. NTPC has always motivated its employees to whole-heartedly take part in such activities. Today, volunteering by the employees and their family members has become a common feature at NTPC. Our employees participate in various Community Development activities through NGOs formed under a common name ‘Employee Voluntary Organization for Initiative in Community Empowerment’ (EVOICE). These NGOs undertake various activities of community development initiatives related to education and health awareness in the nearby rural area of their projects. More than 25 NGOs have been formed at various stations by enthusiastic employees of NTPC stations.
I am of a strong opinion that training and motivation of the core members is important. For this, regular in-house training courses are organized at corporate level to provide them knowledge of various processes, tools and techniques related to planning and implementation of Community Development activities. These sessions provide a platform for them to interact with each other, share feedback from their experience and build up a firm action plan for future initiatives.
Editor:You have undertaken many CSR activities. How do you measure the success of your CSR initiatives?
CMD: Yes, NTPC has taken up many CSR activities and it is also important to measure the success of these initiatives. Our CSR initiatives are based on need and requirement of the community and for their satisfaction and upliftment. Since community aspirations are very high we take up all activities in consultation with the community. This ensures their support and participation. Whatever activities we have carried out until now have been well accepted by the community. Our efforts have been recognized and appreciated many times both at the national as well as the international level.
Some of the awards that the company has bagged in this filed includes the ‘Excellence Awardee’ in The INTEL-AIM Corporate Responsibility Award (IACRA), CSR Award by ICC and UNDP, Golden Peacock Global Award for CSR and Platt’s Global Energy Award; the list of National Awards under CSR include SCOPE Meritorious Award for Corporate Social Responsibility & Responsiveness, CII- ITC Sustainability Award, Business World – FICCI SEDF CSR Award, TERI’s CoRE- BCSD CSR Award, Greentech Platinum Award, The Good Corporate Citizen Award from PHD Chambers of Commerce for the year 2011.
Editor: How do you evaluate your CSR programme?
CMD: Our projects are being evaluated by credible external agencies through evaluation studies like Social Impact Evaluation for providing feed back and inputs to formulate and improve the future projects. We also have annual audits by internal audit teams.
Editor: Approximately how much do you spend on CSR activities every year?
CMD: NTPC takes up CSR activities at three levels: around its Stations, at Regional/ National level and activities of strategic nature. NTPC Board has decided to incur 0.5% of net profit of previous year in line with DPE Guidelines in April 2010.
Editor: How does CSR in India compare with CSR at the global level?
CMD: Since independence CSR has been evolving at a rapid pace in India. But with the advent of globalisation and market driven economy, we are facing fresh challenges to ensure that higher rate of economic growth is both inclusive and broad-based. Presently, very few Corporates in India have structured policy framework and practices for CSR in consonance with their business goals.
We must ensure that all share the benefits of globalisation, not just a fortunate few. The improved performance of the economy must contribute to human development, employment generation, poverty reduction, and thus Nation Building. At the same time our environment and ecology must be protected and safeguarded for our future generations.
A lot of work is required in the area of environment management and improvement in infrastructure, health, education, skill-building and women empowerment to ensure better quality of life to the citizens and employability to the youth. This paradigm shift in the approach will enable India to match with Global level CSR and position India much higher in the Human Development Index (HDI)
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December 14, 2011
January 02, 2012