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Karnataka government gets more serious about CSR

In a new development for corporate social responsibility, the Karnataka Government signed a Memorandum of Understanding this week to streamline CSR funding in the State. MoU is focused on increasing the visibility of CSR funding opportunities in the state for maximum impact. It also aims to leverage CSR data for evidence-based decision-making to achieve the State’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Karnataka ranks third in the SDG Index 2020-21 and is the second-highest recipient of CSR funds in India. The State saw a 131% rise in corporate social responsibility (CSR) spending in the pandemic-hit year 2020.
The state government, through the Department of Planning, Programme Monitoring and Statistics signed the MoU with social impact research and advisory firm Sattva Consulting. “We hope to see CSR reach all districts in the state and are happy to facilitate the same through our administrative machinery,” said the Minister of Planning N Munirathna about the new development. Dr Shalini Rajneesh, Additional Chief Secretary, said on the occasion, “State development needs collaboration among multiple stakeholders. We are happy to include our corporate partners, civil society organisations and others in aligning priorities for the state.”
Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa in April 2021 launched Akanksha, an online portal to help corporates connect with state officials in the implementation of CSR initiatives in a transparent manner. The first of its kind portal in India, it is meant to act as a bridge between the government and the firms providing funds under CSR initiatives. The UNDP helped the state in creating the portal that will also help in implementing UN-mandated sustainable development goals.
Apart from healthcare, one sector where the state is welcoming CSR intervention is higher education. With the Karnataka government taking several measures to begin implementation of the new National Education Policy (NEP) at colleges across domains in the state, funding from the industry and related organisations towards academia is expected to be enhanced as well. “The government will focus on systematic implementation of NEP and seeks CSR funds from industry and donations from organisations towards this,” said C N Ashwathnarayan, Minister for Higher Education, IT, BT, Science & Technology, Skill Development, Entrepreneurship, and Livelihood at a seminar in Bengaluru earlier this year.