KOLKATA: The Merchants Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI) held a conclave on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in Kolkata on Friday.
Sanghamitra Sanghamitra GhoshPrincipal Secretary of the Department of Social Welfare and Development of Women and Children, said the Bengal government’s flagship social welfare program needs continued support from the corporate sectors.
“CSR is a vehicle that can bring together the necessary stakeholders to provide ongoing and committed financial support for programs that benefit the most vulnerable,” she said.
“Help from different business houses could sponsor additional nutrition in anganwadi centers and help build facilities in an existing anganwadi or help build a new anganwadi building. For the government child protection services of state, CSR could involve building more centers or adopting NGOs that work with the government in these centers. Partner NGOs could consider working with the government of West Bengal in these key areas,” said she added.
She said, “80 lakh girls have benefited from the Kanyashree program and 2 million women have benefited from the Lakshmir Bhandar initiative of the Bengal government.”
More than 2.5 lakh women in Bengal are associated with anganwadi centres, she said.
Janab Md Mohiuddin, Head of UNICEF Field Office, said the pandemic has set us back and now CSR can help in critical areas like poverty, income inequality and gender, addressing the needs fundamentals, education and the right to livelihood.
He said that “West Bengal is doing better than the Indian average when it comes to infant mortality rates, but worryingly, teenage pregnancies and maternal mortality rates were on the rise.”
Debanjan Chakrabarti, Director of East & North East India, British Council said that in partnership with the Times of India, the British Council has launched the Teach India initiative in rural India to educate the weakest section of children in English and digital literacy since 2010 for 2015.
Sourav Roy, Head of CSR, Tata Steel, wanted to identify problems and then solve them.
He wanted people to understand the communities to work with and to show empathy and understanding to develop an effective strategy.
He advised, “Identify marginalized communities first, then identify their need to address it.”
MCCI Chairman Rishabh C Kothari felt the need for a large-scale reflection on CSR with stakeholders.
“Our goal is to bring all stakeholders together in one event to discuss and reflect on the opportunities for partnerships that exist in CSR with a particular focus on benefiting the people we serve as businesses.”
Various NGO leaders like Jaydeep Chakrabarty, CEO, Calcutta Rescue, Sreela Dasgupta, Global Lead SME for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Tata Consultancy Services, Modhurima Sinha, Director Public Relations, ER Taj Group and Sourav Mukherjee, Director, Kolkata Society for Cultural Heritage were in attendance with Smarajit Mitra, President, Startup and Skills Development Council, MCCI.