Skilling and livelihood opportunities for the Differently Abled: The Prime Minister had said that persons with disability are endowed with extra qualities and are far more capable than it is believed. He suggested the term 'Divyang' for them. India has one of the largest disabled populations in the world. As per census 2011, the percentage of disabled is 2.21 percent and majority of them live in rural areas. Persons with disability are more vulnerable to exclusion from the socio-economic domains as they have poor access to infrastructure, education and skill development. In the past, projects for disabled persons were restricted in scale of operations only,
but with inclusion of CSR projects for the disabled, companies are looking at the challenges of persons with disability in a holistic manner. Projects like providing literacy and vocational education and removing barriers for gaining access and employability are the strategic CSR projects for persons with disability.

Self Help Groups (SHGs) and Micro Enterprises: CSR projects facilitate livelihoods in rural areas by creating job opportunities without migration through SHGs and micro enterprises. CSR projects can focus on providing market access for products and services and by facilitating micro finance. E-Commerce ventures can provide market linkages to producers and artisans for online selling of their products. This can be done by mentoring and incubation support. Innovative CSR models in skills intervention for SHGs can increase their efficiency and outcomes.

Elderly population: In India, besides increase in the young population, there is a steady rise in the elderly population too which today is close to 100 million. The elderly population is growing at 3.8 per cent per annum, which constitutes almost 8 per cent of the entire population. By 2050,the size of the elderly population will increase to 240 million. The impediments of elderly are well known. Besides degenerative physical and mental morbidities, they suffer from functional limitations and limited financial means. The poor civic infrastructure adds to their problems thus posing a challenge for their healthcare, well being and housing needs. The new CSR amendment suggests "setting up old age homes, day care centers and such other facilities for senior citizens". The inclusion of the CSR activities in the Schedule VII supplements the Government's efforts for the care of elderly.

Slum Development: Housing and employment are key factors for rising number of slums in urban areas. Slum population of India was estimated at 93 million in 2011. Inclusion of slum development in CSR activities is supplementing Government's efforts to make cities slum free. Our country needs to solve the slum crisis before starting projects of 'Smart Cities'. F or sustained economic growth, India needs to create opportunity for the
slum population to be gainfully employed. CSR projects aimed at slum development would have immense collateral benefits for the industry and urban poor.

CSR route

With the consolidation of CSR activities, many companies are creating community livelihood linkages by incorporating them into their supply chain processes. The foundation of new age CSR has set in. The CSR ecosystem is getting a boost as the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by the UN in 2015 are becoming the pivotal areas for the corporate sector to act upon through C R activities. The most efficient C R activities ensure that while the company complies with legislation, their investments empowers the marginalized communities. In Indian context, in the past, literacy was the key element in philanthropic models. In this new era, skill development and livelihood creation is the primary focus. Education has evolved beyond basic writing and reading competencies; it is the skills that matters. Strategic investments in skilling for the bottom line of the community can directly affect the bottom line of businesses.

According to World Economic Forum Global Risks Perception Survey 2016, two most interconnected risks - profound social instability and structural unemployment or under-employment account for 5 per cent of all interconnections. Knowledge of interconnections helps leaders prioritize areas for action and plan for contingencies. The Indian Industry captains are aware of such risks and many of them are dovetailing their CSR activities in these domains.


Business and thought leaders; apart from focussing on top lines and bottomlines of their enterprises are also at the forefront of confronting human development challenges as it directly impacts their businesses. Corporates should integrate their CSR goals with organizational goals as this is a bright opportunity for them to become a conduit in the nation's development agenda. The CSR budget of approximately Rs 10,000-12,000 crore per annum is miniscule as compared to Government of India budget out lay for social sector development. For this, innovative CSR projects are needed that are economically viable, scalable and replicable in demographic context. Corporates can divert some CSR funding in R&D of CSR projects. The fundamental issues of social sector are problems of scale. These novel models can be offered to public sector to have a sustained impact. In this realm 'corporate social innovation' should go hand in hand with 'corporate social responsibility'. Creating shared value through innovative models will have deep rooted societal impacts that will mainstream the marginalized. Corporates create wealth which in turn translates into CSR budget. What is required is tapping of the enormous resource pool and the organizational capacity of the corporate sector to design viable and innovative CSR projects. The inclusive growth agenda foresees an enabling environment for all to enjoy a productive, healthy and creative life as development is conceived in terms of mass participation in the growth story of a nation. Strategic CSR projects for the marginalized sections like minorities, dalits, adivasis, women and unorganized workers can assume much significant role in their social development.

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Courtesy: Yojana