North-east India has been the most neglected region when it comes to corporate social responsibility. However, the tide is turning. CSR spending in the northeastern region has witnessed a sharp spike over the past five years, with corporate houses and public sector enterprises giving more importance to north-eastern states in their CSR planning and budget. According to the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA), four north-eastern states recorded a jump of 200% in CSR funding between 2014-15 to 2018-19. Assam is the biggest beneficiary in the region.
Where does Assam stand
As per data from National CSR portal, in the financial year 2020-21, the total CSR expenditure in Assam has been Rs 163.21 crores, with a total of 169 companies investing in 24 districts of the state under 8 different sectors.
Top 3 districts
The top 3 districts to get CSR benefits in Assam are respectively Dibrugarh (amount spent towards CSR 11.92 cr), Kamrup Metropolitan (10.55 cr) and Kamrup (10.03 cr). Tinsukia, Majuli, Sivasagar, Barpeta, Jorhat, Cachar and Darrang feature among the rest of the top 10 districts enjoying CSR benefits in the state.
Top 3 sectors
The top 3 sectors in which most of the CSR activities have been performed in the state are
• Education, differently abled, livelihood (CSR spent 95.82 cr)
• Health, eradicating hunger, poverty and malnutrition, safe drinking water, sanitation (CSR spent 43.69 cr)
• Rural Development (CSR spent 9.21 cr)
Top 3 companies
The top three companies spending for CSR in Assam in FY 2020-21 are respectively Oil India Limited (34.51 cr), Asian Paints Limited (25.4 cr) and Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Limited (10.79 cr).
Oil India Limited
Oil India Limited (OIL) is a fully integrated Exploration and Production company in the upstream sector, with origin dating back to the glorious year (1889) of oil discovery in India. A Navratna Company, OIL is a state-owned enterprise of the Government of India, under the administrative control of the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas and is the second largest national oil and gas company in India.
OIL’s mission is ‘To continually enhance the triple bottom line benchmarks of economic, environment and social performance through responsible business practices and contribution of corporate resources, providing value to stakeholders.’
Largest spender for CSR in Assam in the FY 2020-21, OIL has spent mostly towards healthcare, education, sanitation, Covid-19 support etc. The company has spent 105.25 cr in the said financial year, while contributing 34.51 cr for Assam alone.
Some of their major CSR projects in Assam include:
>>Project Sparsha – Project Sparsha caters to the primary healthcare needs of the people in operational areas of the company in Dibrugarh, Tinsukia and Charaideo in Assam through mobile healthcare services. Under this project, healthcare camps are organised for diagnosis and treatment of non-communicable, chronic and common diseases, laboratory tests and medicines are provided free of cost.
>>Project Aarogya: This has been implemented in 20 villages of Tinsukia and Dibrugarh districts in Assam. The project aims at reduction of infant and maternal mortality rates in the region. Pre and post-natal health check-ups, clinical tests, sensitizing women on maternal health, child care and benefits of institutional delivery, counselling of pregnant women, babies and lactating mothers etc are performed under this.
>>Covid – 19: The company provided 35 ice lined refrigerators and two deep freezers to the Government of Assam to assist Covid 19 vaccination program in the state. They also donated facemask, sanitiser, PPE kits, gloves etc. to Guwahati Medical College and Hospital.
>>Oil Dikhya: The project was launched in 2012 and over the last 5 years has evolved to include several educational programs in Assam, the most notable being Computer Education to students of rural schools via mobile computer education buses/vans that visit each of the schools. In FY 2020-21, the project was implemented in 30 schools catering to students of class VI, VII, VIII, with annual outreach of 6,689 students.
>>OIL Super 30: Under the project free residential coaching is provided to students from economically disadvantaged sections, aspiring to clear engineering (JEE) and medical (NEET) entrance examinations to secure admissions into the prestigious engineering and medical institutes across the country. OIL Super 30 centres are run at Guwahati, Jorhat, Dibrugarh, Nagaon in Assam.
>>Swachh Bharat Abhiyan: Adhering to its commitment of Swachh Bharat, the company has constructed and maintained school toilets, provided clean drinking water in its operational areas, developed the Kamakhya Temple complex, Guwahati as Swachh Iconic Place.
In FY 2020-21, the company had supported construction of nearly 70 toilets and 2 toilet blocks for Girls in various schools, 3 community toilet block, and 27 units of Individual Household Latrines (IHHL), Garbage truck and waste bins were provided at various places, provision of drinking water supply being done through installation of hand pumps in Hospital and Government Schools in Goalpara Aspirational District, construction and augmentation of piped water supply in 8 locations in Dhubri Aspirational Districts.
>>Project Rupantar: The project encourages formation of Self-Help Groups (SHGs)/Joint Liability groups (JLGs) among communities in Tinsukia and Dibrugarh in Assam to pursue agro-based industries, animal husbandry, fishery, organic farming and diversification of handloom products. In FY 2020-21, the project had supported a total of 410 Joint Liability Groups for development of agriculture and allied activities.
>>OIL Merit Scholarship: The OIL Merit Scholarship and OIL Awards, instituted in 1997 and 2006 respectively encourage meritorious students especially from rural parts of OIL operational areas passing X and XII exams under CBSE, ICSE, Assam and other state boards.
Asian Paints Limited
Asian Paints CSR is all about the holistic development of communities and a resilient future for the nation. With a presence in Asia, the Middle East, Africa and the South Pacific, Asian Paints has aligned all its business ventures with the goal of making dream homes a reality for its consumers.
The company is a leader in manufacturing a diverse range of industrial and decorative paints. Over the years, it has diversified into complete painting and designing services, bath and kitchen fittings, decor consultancy and waterproofing solutions. The Group houses seven brands: Asian Paints, SCIB Paints, Apco Coatings, Asian Paints Berger, Taubmans, Causeway Paints and Kadisco Asian Paints.
Corporate social responsibility at Asian Paints is about a sustainable business model, which looks after the interests of all stakeholders. Sustainability here drives the actions for conserving water and optimising energy usage at every level.
In the FY 2020-21, Asian Paints Limited has made a CSR expenditure of 63 crores, out of which 25.4 cr was spent for Assam alone. The CSR initiatives of Asian Paints aim towards inclusive development of the communities largely around the vicinity of their registered office and plants and.
It also focuses on ensuring environmental protection through a range of structured interventions in the areas of
— Promoting education and special education
— Promoting livelihood projects
— Creating employability
— Enhancing dignity of the painter community
–Enabling access to quality, primary healthcare services
— Water conservation, replenishment and recharge
— Disaster relief measures.
Some of their major CSR projects in Assam include:
>>Setting up of new colour academies for skilling and vocational training in Guwahati
>>Skilling and vocational training, technical knowledge distribution, productivity and livelihood enhancement for dignified living projects in Guwahati
Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Limited (ONGC)
ONGC is the largest crude oil and natural gas Company in India, contributing around 71 per cent to Indian domestic production. Crude oil is the raw material used to produce petroleum products like Petrol, Diesel, Kerosene, Naphtha, and Cooking Gas LPG.
ONGC Videsh Limited, a Central Public Sector Enterprise of the Government of India under the administrative control of the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas, is the wholly owned subsidiary and overseas arm of ONGC. ONGC subsidiary Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Limited is a Central Public Sector Enterprise under the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas.
ONGC subsidiary HPCL has the second largest share of product pipelines in India with a pipeline network of more than 3370 kms for transportation of petroleum products and a vast marketing network consisting of 14 Zonal offices in major cities.
ONGC’s CSR Policy 2021 mentions, ‘ONGC conducts its business as a responsible corporate and believes in holistically addressing all issues related to People, Planet and Profit for a sustainable business and better future for all living beings and is committed to achieve inclusive growth of the marginalized and deprived sections of the society through its CSR initiatives to be implemented within the geographical boundaries of India, with preference to its Operational Areas, by supplementing government’s effort and / or by making independent efforts.’
Third highest spender for CSR activities in Assam (10.79 cr) in the FY 2020-21, the company has contributed mainly towards educational projects and vocational skills training in the districts of Cachar, Jorhat, Sivasagar and Sonitpur.
Other companies spending money towards CSR in Assam
Indian Oil Corporation Limited, Brahmaputra Cracker and Polymer Limited, Coal India Ltd Govt of India Undertaking, Gail (India) Limited, Numaligarh Refinery Limited, Tata Consumer Products Limited and ITC Limited feature among the rest of the top 10 companies spending towards CSR in Assam.