Empowering persons with disabilities to harness their potential

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ALIMCO today is establishing itself as an ideal CSR executing agency for both private and Public sector. Given the insufficiency in funds to support the Persons with Disabilities, there is a strong need of CSR funding that would help this section and make them more productive for the society. Throwing more light on this,
Shri D R Sarin, CMD, ALIMCO tells SPOI of how ALIMCO is trying to mobilise funds and bring everyone together to serve this vulnerable section of the society –

What is your reaction to the mandatory CSR provisions under the new Companies Act, 2013?

Today CSR is one of the major thrust areas of the Corporation. ALIMCO is immensely benefited with the introduction of Statutory Section in the Companies Act, 2013 relating to CSR and it is today one of the major alternative resources to reach out to more people in terms of providing Aids & Assistive Devices. As per CSR guidelines, implementing agency like ALIMCO should execute the CSR activity in project mode for the benefit of poorest among the poor which it mandates to fulfil. Moreover, the Corporation is qualified to get funds under CSR as it is registered under Section 8 of the Companies Act 2013.

What role do you visualise for Corporate India in addressing the development challenges through CSR?

There is no doubt that CSR obligation under the companies Act 2013 has opened the ocean of opportunities in the process of nation building. Various challenges like education, skilled manpower supply, sanitation, environment protection issues of the developing nations are among the popular areas where CSR funds is being utilised. As far as ALIMCO is concerned, persons with disabilities are the integral part of the human resources and empowering them by providing aids and assistive devices under CSR to utilise their potential in the development process of our country. Therefore, the profit making corporate – both public and private have a duty towards this section of our society.

I appeal to all Public and Private Sectors Heads to include activities relating to disabled persons under their CSR projects.

It has been found that a majority of organisations are focussing only on compliance with CSR without perform their Social Responsibility with passion. What, according to you, should be done to motivate the organisations to do better for the society?

If organisations believe that the basic rule of business is to earn profit, then a strategic approach by the organisation towards CSR can bring benefits. By using their core strengths to build goodwill and earning consumer confidence and trust in business to build positive brand image will ultimately lead to business growth and profit of the company.

Can you discuss ALIMCO’s CSR journey?

ALIMCO is “Not for profit motive” organisation and a Central Public Sector undertaking under Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Govt. of India, registered under Section 8 of the Companies Act 2013 , the mobilisation of CSR funds was started by the Corporation much before the introduction of Section 135 of the Companies Act 2013. It was started in 2011 after the issue of CSR guidelines by the Department of Public Enterprises. As per census 2011 India had a population of approximately 26.8 million Persons with Disabilities and majority of them came from poor strata of society. However government aided schemes is not adequate to serve the needy PwDs (Persons with Disabilities). Hence, determined to empower the PwDs of our country, ALIMCO approached Corporates, particularly CPSEs to join hands with ALIMCO under their CSR Programmes to provide Assistive Aids & Appliances to PwDs.

What is the implementing method of CSR for the corporate by your Company?

Our implementation methodology is simple and clear. ALIMCO submits proposal to sponsoring agencies and once the proposal is accepted it is followed by the signing of MoU to proceed with the implementation process in the project mode. Thereafter, there are two major steps – firstly, the assessments of beneficiaries by qualified Prosthetic & Orthotics professionals/Audiologist at the various locations which are finalized in consultation with sponsoring agencies and district administration after which complete beneficiaries details along with performa invoice are provided to sponsoring agency. Secondly distribution camps to provide prescribed assistive devices to identified beneficiaries are conducted. Various other micro level planning is involved during execution of the camps like finalising venue, timely dispatch and delivery of material, wide media publicity, food and water arrangements during camps etc. Eventually utilization certificate and completion report is also handed over to the sponsor agency.

What are the areas that ALIMCO has been concentrating on as a part of its CSR initiatives?

Pursuant to the provision of CSR, ALIMCO has planned to undertake various activities as per the CSR policy of the corporation as approved by the board. The activities identified by the corporation for implementing its CSR are well covered under the schedule VII of section 135 focusing on promoting health and environment sustainability sector through primary healthcare camps and distribution of solar lanterns in the vicinity of the rural areas of the corporation and its centres all over the country. In addition to the provision for promoting disabled sports persons, participating in national and international level and skill development programme are the other initiatives in which the corporation is planning to concentrate.

Which one of your projects may be called a flagship activity, which you can promote targeting the CSR spending companies, if any?

Apart from providing Aids & Assistive Devices to Persons with Disabilities under CSR projects funded by Private and Govt. Corporate, ALIMCO has recently taken up the project of providing Cochlear Implants to children who can neither listen nor speak. Cochlear Implant is a medical device which can be implanted in children between the age group of 0-5 years and after implanting such device children are able to listen and speak. So far, the Corporation is able to mobilise Rs.10 Crores for Cochlear Implant which is likely to increase substantially during the current year. Many corporates have come forward to support this initiative of the Corporation under the CSR and Corporation is promoting this as a major activity of the Corporation under the CSR initiative.

Any information, you would like to share with our readers?

It is true that Govt. is supporting the Persons with Disabilities by providing free Aids & Assistive Devices under ADIP Scheme but the allocation of funds under this Scheme of the Govt. is not sufficient to meet the requirement. Hence, the CSR funding would help this vulnerable section of the society by providing mobility to them to make them more productive for the society. I appeal to all Public and Private Sectors Heads to include activities relating to disabled persons under their CSR projects.

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