Odisha drew corporate investment worth over 40,000 crores in 2019-20 but saw the lowest corporate social responsibility spends ever. Data from the Ministry of Corporate Affairs shows that CSR spending in the State for 2019-20 was merely Rs. 215 crore, the lowest sum since the mandate came into effect in 2014-15. Just the previous year, Odisha had received the highest CSR funding, Rs. 682 crores.
However, aspirational districts in the State have witnessed growing interest from corporates who have been initiating new projects. For example, the district of Koraput received the second-highest funding of Rs. 30 crore while other aspirational districts have seen social investments of at least Rs. 2 crores each.
Today, the nation observes Utkala Dibasa (Odisha Day) in memory of the formation of this great State. Odisha became the first independent state on the basis of language in India on Utkal Divas 85 years ago. Once part of the Kalinga empire, this land became a separate province, after a long struggle of over three centuries.
Top CSR projects in Odisha
Over 83% of Odisha’s population is rural, while nearly half of it belongs to various socially marginalised communities. The state can be divided into 2 regions – coastal and inland districts. While the former is fertile with a high agricultural yield capacity, the latter are remote, hilly and barren with little forest cover, thus restricting the people’s access to socio-economic development. Browse through the top corporate citizenship projects which are improving the lives of the inhabitants.
Tata Steel Thousand Schools
The Thousand Schools Programme was initiated by Tata Steel in January 2015 to revitalize school education in its areas of operation. The CSR programme aims to create a model of Universalisation of Elementary Education (UEE) within the Right to Education (RTE) framework that is replicable and scalable.
It covers six administrative blocks in three districts of Odisha – Danagadi and Sukinda in Jajpur district, Joda and Harichandanpur in Keonjhar district, and Koira and Kutra in Sundargarh district. Five out of these six are Educationally Backward Blocks (EBB).
The programme was awarded the ‘Most Impactful CSR Project, 2018’ as part of the CSR awards of the Government of Odisha by the Chief Minister of Odisha Naveen Patnaik in a valedictory function held on November 13, 2018 at Bhubaneswar during the Make in Odisha Conclave, 2018.
Tata Steel Rural Development Society (TSRDS) took on a sports CSR initiative in 2013 to run under-10 football coaching centres in different locations in Odisha to identify raw talent from the hinterland. Presently 12 such centres are being run in Odisha where a total of 315 boys are undergoing training. Of those, two are in Bamnipal (Rasol and Tangariapal), four in Kalinganagar (Dakshinposi, Baghuapal, Nakadei and Mirgichera), two in Joda (Bamebari and Joda basti) and four in Sukinda (Garamia, Kalarangiatta, Katepurty Nagar and Kakudia). Each centre has 25-30 boys. The under-10 football coaching centres are not only honing the soccer skills of rural children but also teaching them to become disciplined in daily life.
Apart from coaching, the players are given a healthy diet every day to make them physically strong. Coaching is held only before or after the school hours for four days in a week so that their education is not disturbed. Every year, trials are held at Jamshedpur in which all the boys who are undergoing the coaching take part and compete for place in Tata Football Academy (TFA).
Jindal Steel Mission Against Malnutrition
Mission Against Malnutrition (MAM) blends action-research, evidence-based advocacy and administrative capabilities of bringing together multiple partners for a common cause: fighting child malnutrition among disadvantaged families.
After a series of consultations with Central Food Technological Research Institute (CFTRI) at Mysuru, other experts in the field, and importantly studying the ground situation in Karnataka’s Bellary district thoroughly between September 2013 and June 2014, JSW Foundation (the CSR wing of the Jindal group) identified micronutrient deficiency in the diet of the enrolled undernourished children. Therefore, it was planned that an additional dose of micronutrients in small doses can be added in the children’s diet. The CSR team zeroed in on Spirulina fortified sugar (SFS) as a solution and developed a simple, cost-effective, easy to replicate and scale up the plan.
Spirulina is a natural food well known for its nutritional qualities worldwide. It was basically chosen because while it can provide several important micronutrients required by children’s healthy growth and development, it can also be easily cultivated and processed locally by the local communities.
Mission Against Malnutrition brought together the Department of Women & Child Development, Government of Karnataka, JSW Foundation and Supraja Foundation, NGOs like Spirulina Foundation, Bhoruka Charitable Trust, Pranati, Charitable Trust For Integrated Development, reputed research institutes like CFTRI, Mysuru, IHMR-Bengaluru, Vijayanagara Institute of Medical Sciences (VIIMS)-Ballari, Department of Social Studies, VSK University and management agency like IID, Bengaluru on board.
A dramatic reduction in the levels of malnutrition was observed; up to 42% reduction in the number of malnourished children during 2014-16 and 45.3% reduction in 2016-17 trials.
Vedanta – Dhokra Art
Dhokra Art is one of the oldest forms of tribal art in India. The art, technique and its essence have been passed on from one generation to the other. But the rich art form is being lost, with large-scale migration of tribal people to different towns and cities in search of livelihood. So in an effort to create livelihood opportunities for the rural artisans who already have the knowledge and skills of Dhokra Art, Vedanta has reached out to people residing in Kankeri village. The CSR project is polishing their existing skills through intensive training, providing market linkages and new techniques and ideas.
Despite having local knowledge and skills, the artisans could not produce market-ready craft from which they could earn a living. Through this CSR project, the livelihood of Dhokra artisans is being revived and a stable income generation outlet is being created for the artisans. The objective is to revive the livelihoods of Dhokra artisans and create employment opportunities for youth, provide marketing channels and linkages, provide physical and social infrastructure, link artisans with financial services provided by banks, provide skill training to artisans to create new designs and reduce migration of artisans.
Infosys Pratibha Poshak
Pratibha Poshak is the flagship scholarship-cum-mentoring programme of Infosys. It began in 2007 when a group of Bhu Infoscions decided to mentor and coach the students who had just completed their 10th board exams but were from financially challenged backgrounds. The programme was conceived to not only provide a scholarship amount to them but to also ensure that they have access to a life coach in terms of an “Infoscion” all their life so as to help them make better career and life choices. All the phases are handled by Infoscions at Bhubaneswar. Infoscions at Bhubaneswar act as life coaches till the graduation of the student where they help him/her in various spheres of career choices. Post this, they are also advised on career choices as well.
HDFC Bank Parivartan HRDP
HDFC Bank Parivartan, under the Holistic Rural Development Programme (HRDP), has been working toward supporting communities in 65 villages across the districts of Rayagada, Kalahandi, Nayagarh & Ganjam. This is being done by introducing sustainable agriculture practices and technology to help enhance their livelihoods. Through HRDP, the bank is creating sustainable communities in over 75 villages across 5 districts in Odisha, thus reaching over 17,912 households.
HDFC Bank’s Skill Training & Enhancement Centre – inaugurated in Bhubaneswar in February 2018 – aims to alleviate the economic condition of urban youth by enhancing their employability. It consists of a career aptitude test and individual counselling to help them choose their careers, after which they are trained to work in the retail or food & beverage industry. Special career fairs called Kaushal Melas are also organised to create an all-in-one job search platform. The CSR initiative not only engages with the youth but also their parents, as their participation is extremely vital. About 4,170 candidates have been trained since its inception, while 3,053 have been placed in diverse companies across various sectors so far.