D K Sood, Regional Executive Director (DBF) & Executive Director (CSR) – NTPC Ltd. speaks to SPO India on the key CSR initiatives at NTPC and how it is helping start-up NGOs by associating in different programs for building a better society –
What are the key activities that NTPC undertook last year?
Last year the key focus was on the toilet construction under SWACHH BHARAT ABHIYAN for which we have gone for construction of around 24,000 toilets. With this vision we had also spent good amount on the education, sanitation aspects and also building infrastructure in various villages. More emphasis was also on drinking water facilities to be developed in and around NTPC plants.
What are the key areas that you have identified in FY 2017-18 and how would you be implementing those?
In this current year our focus will be mostly on the education sites, sanitation sites and also on SWACHH BHARAT ABHIYAN. We will provide all these things and also we are focusing on the skill training of the people so that we can develop the skills of the youth around the stations wherever we are with the sole aim that it should be sustainable. Our idea is that whatever trainings we impart, the skill should be sustainable and the youth really gets employed in the long run and serve this country.
Have you identified any specific cities or states for implementing these projects?
NTPC is spread all across the country and therefore our strategy is that wherever we have our plants we provide them the annual budget to look after the people around the stations. We give the budget at the start of the year; the only difference this year was that we are trying to give them the budget for the activity which will be sustained for at least 2 to 3 years. We have also started mapping it with the present level wherever the people are and then focusing towards where will reach. We have put our focus on the education and on the sustainability side on Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, so that wherever the money is spent, it benefits the people around individually and for self sustaining purposes.
Can you tell us about key parameters for an organization to partner with NTPC for implementing their CSR projects?
Under our new policy modifications, we are planning now to rope in the NGOs who will be partnering with us in our progress in CSR. The selection of the CSR activities has also been added in the policy as criteria so that we have a meaning development of people around. We will be looking for the support of the government on prioritising the activities on CSR front. As a part of our criteria we would be rating the NGOs and whatever support they will give us and engage them accordingly.
Do you have any strategy to focus on the start-up sector within the NGO space?
We are open to work with such NGOs. The only thing is that we will have to assess the seriousness in actually doing the work and coming forward with the results which we seek for. That is the kind of change we are putting in our policy that whatever CSR budget we spend, it will have meaning in a way people actually benefit out of that. If we find any NGOs really serious and will meet the results as per our expectations, we are open to working with them.
What is your key mantra for these start-up NGO’s so that they get highlighted and get recognition from the industry?
Many NGOs are approaching us on a daily basis. After analysis of their functions of whatever they are doing, if it is matches with our policy guideline, we will seek their support.
How is NTPC taking CSR to the next level and how you would want to contribute towards development of this sector?
NTPC has a very good budget to support CSR; 2% fund comes roughly to 250cr. The only challenge is to actually execute the work, so since we are not directly involved in the execution of work we look for the support of NGOs who will support our policy guidelines in the time to come and we will try to support them. Along with the NGOs, we sometime get requests from the state govt. too coupled with the local politicians and leaders. We look into them as well.
Any changes you believe is required in the current CSR Act?
I think the present Act is definitely supporting the corporates in a big way and whatever fund is generated, if this gets channelled in a proper way and little focus, I think we can change and really support the society.