Karnataka, a state nestled in the southern region of India, where history, culture, and modernity blend seamlessly to create a unique tapestry of diversity and progress. Known for its rich heritage, breathtaking landscapes, and vibrant cities, Karnataka offers an enticing mix of ancient traditions and contemporary developments.
In FY 2021-22, Karnataka solidified its position as a major player in the corporate social responsibility (CSR) landscape, emerging as the third-largest recipient of CSR funds in India. With an impressive total of Rs. 1761.39 crores received from 1984 companies, the state showcased its commitment to fostering sustainable development and making a positive impact on various social and environmental issues. The substantial inflow of CSR funds reflects the growing awareness among corporations about their role in contributing to the welfare of society and the environment. Karnataka’s ability to attract such a significant amount of CSR investments speaks volumes about its potential for fostering meaningful change and transforming communities for the better.
Development Sectors in Focus for CSR Initiatives in Karnataka
In the financial year 2021-22, Karnataka witnessed a remarkable emphasis on various development sectors through Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives. Education, Differently Abled, and Livelihood emerged as the top priority with substantial funding of Rs. 727.77 crore. The state showed equal dedication to addressing critical health and social issues, allocating Rs. 543.17 crores to initiatives such as Eradicating Hunger, Poverty, and Malnutrition, as well as providing Safe Drinking Water and Sanitation facilities. Environmental conservation and Animal Welfare received significant attention, securing an investment of Rs. 361.74 crore. Additionally, Rural Development was supported with Rs. 42.08 crore to uplift rural communities. Efforts to promote Gender Equality, Women Empowerment, and the establishment of Old Age Homes were granted Rs. 29.92 crore. Preserving Heritage, Art, and Culture received an allocation of Rs. 28.81 crore, and Sports initiatives were encouraged with Rs. 26.85 crore. Other important sectors, including Technology Incubator and benefits to Armed Forces, also received support, and Slum Area Development was allocated Rs. 0.62 crore.
Focus on Education for FY2023-24
With a keen focus on uplifting the education sector and empowering the youth across the state, the Karnataka government has set its sights on significantly increasing CSR spending for the year 2023-2024 to a substantial amount of ₹2,854 crore. The state has identified crucial areas where CSR funds can make a transformative impact, such as providing solar-based smart classrooms in schools, launching “skills on wheels” programs in 1027 schools across 25 districts, establishing classrooms and skill labs in 99 polytechnics and 11 engineering colleges, setting up 6,000 multi-skills labs, and ensuring supplementary nutrition for school children. Additionally, the government aims to create apprenticeship and internship opportunities in about 59,000 establishments, promote digital libraries and library upgradation, and support sports equipment. The initiative also seeks donations of used/old PCs/laptops to address the shortage of desktops in 2,275 schools and laptops in 1,600 secondary schools.
In anticipation of the CSR conclave “Education – Make a Social Impact,” scheduled for Friday and graced by the participation of Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, the government has diligently compiled and analyzed data, identifying the pressing challenges confronting the education sector. The state’s estimated annual budget for education, amounting to ₹38,000 crores, includes allocations of approximately ₹25,350 crores for teacher and staff salaries, ₹1,635 crores for mid-day meals, ₹730 crores for eggs, and ₹185 crores and ₹160 crores for free uniforms and textbooks, respectively. Scholarships and infrastructure development will also receive substantial funding of ₹1,040 crore and ₹1,250 crore, respectively, showcasing the government’s commitment to enhancing educational opportunities for all.
Top three CSR spenders in Karnataka
In the financial year 2021-22, Karnataka witnessed exceptional corporate social responsibility (CSR) efforts from some of its leading companies. Topping the list of CSR spenders were Infosys Limited, contributing a commendable Rs. 231.11 crore towards various social and environmental initiatives. Not far behind, Wipro Limited displayed its commitment by allocating a generous sum of Rs. 209.9 crore to impactful CSR projects. Among the top three spenders was Jindal Aluminium Limited, making a significant contribution of Rs. 30.39 crore towards the betterment of communities and the conservation of resources.
Top CSR Projects in Karnataka
Seed-to-mouth initiative by Herbalife
Herbalife India, a global health and wellness company, partnered with Sambhav Foundation, a non-profit organization, to train and empower farmers in India as part of its CSR initiative. Through Herbalife’s Seed-to-Mouth initiative, the organization has strengthened the farming capabilities of over 9,300 farmers across India. In line with Herbalife’s commitment to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the comprehensive training program has transformed over 25,000 households across 84 villages in Karnataka, Rajasthan, and Madhya Pradesh.
The project was implemented across major districts such as Ajmer (Rajasthan), Vijayapura (Karnataka), and Vidisha (Madhya Pradesh), equipping the farming community with cutting-edge agricultural learning resources, reducing operating costs, and enabling market reach to enhance their income generation. Since its launch in July 2022, the Seed-to-Mouth initiative has enhanced sector access for farmers by connecting them with major industry players, enabling them to reach a wider customer base and expand their market reach.
The NGO conducted a diagnostic study in consultation with over 50 agri-experts across the states to identify and address existing gaps in agricultural practices by providing farmers with essential resources such as seeds, equipment, fertilizers, and loans. Farmers also gained practical knowledge on essential topics such as advanced farming technology, crop diversification, safe use of chemicals, land management, credit support, and market access through collaboration with Krishi Vigyan Kendras and university incubators. Expert-led awareness sessions on farming and irrigation supported farmers throughout the farming process.
Rejuvenation of Hunasamaranahalli Lake by Lowe’s India
Lowe’s India announced the successful rejuvenation of the Hunasamaranahalli Lake in the north of Bengaluru. The project began in 2022, in partnership with Oasis Foundation and HandsonCSR.
The Hunasamaranahalli Lake, near the Bengaluru International Airport, was home to migratory birds, a huge population of fish, snakes and turtles, primarily. However, with a fast-growing neighborhood, the lake started to suffer from soil erosion, depleting water retention capacity and garbage accumulation.
As part of the rejuvenation, Lowe’s India supported a number of enhancements including de-silting, the addition of bunds around the lake, the planting of 1000-plus trees and flowering plants, refurbishment of inlet and outlet sources and the creation of a new walking and cycling path along the lake’s perimeter. Additionally, Lowe’s India associates led cleanup drives, including garbage collection and weed removal, in areas surrounding the lake.
The rejuvenated lake is expected to bring back lost biodiversity in the surrounding areas and save more than 3,00,015.9Kgs of CO2 by 2043. It has already started attracting butterflies, birds and other smaller creatures. More than 500 people visit the lake daily.
DIKSHa Program by Dalmia Bharat
Dalmia Bharat Foundation (DBF), the CSR arm of Dalmia Bharat Ltd initiated DIKSHa program in 2016 in partnership with the National Skill Development Corporation. DIKSHa is dedicated to enabling skill development and sustainable livelihoods for disadvantaged youth in rural communities in India.
In a country with the youngest and largest workforce in the world, India faces the challenge of significant skill gaps, with only 5% of the workforce recognized as formally skilled. Addressing this concern, DBF via DIKSHa provides placement-linked, short-term skill training to youth and women, adding them to skilled workforce for enhanced income.
DIKSHa primarily focuses on training unemployed youth or youth with limited prospects by enhancing their employability through skill development. DIKSHa offers training in a wide range of areas, including healthcare, industrial sewing machine operator, assistant electrician, customer relationship management, sales and marketing, data entry operator, beauty and wellness, and unarmed security. Till date, DIKSHa has trained 11647 individuals successfully with more than 8271 individuals placed in gainful employment, earning monthly wages ranging from INR 8,000 to INR 20,000.