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Goa CSR Authority: Interview with Shri Pramod Sawant

The Goa Government has undertaken a revolutionary step by creating a Goa CSR authority with all the relevant registration and government statutory requirements to enable corporations to donate their CSR funds through the authority. Speaking to CSR Times, the Honorable Shri Pramod Sawant explains the government’s thinking behind this move.  

Why was Goa CSR Authority formed?
Over the years, numerous companies based in Goa and outside Goa have been consistently working shoulder to shoulder along with various Departments in Goa Administration and in collaboration with local NGOs and various clubs. They have been mainly working in the field of health especially during Covid outbreak, Education, Women Empowerment and Skill Development.

All these works worth crores of rupees were being done in a piece meal manner and no account of such assets was kept at one place. Also, maintenance was always our concern. I therefore felt that a proper institutional arrangement should be made under the government so that assets created under the CSR initiative are taken care off at both the stages of implementation and maintenance.

My government has created the Goa CSR authority with all the relevant registration and Government statutory requirements to enable corporates to donate their CSR funds through the Authority and I am happy to inform that the Goa CSR Authority has been receiving quality response from reputed Central Government institutions, Banks, Industry and other Corporates.

Major achievements of Goa CSR Authority?
Goa CSR Authority has been created to ensure that CSR projects are routed through it so that timely implementation and maintenance of projects is undertaken with the help of corporate and institutions within the state and outside Goa. CSR activities in Goa through, the Goa CSR Authority is a grand success contributing to the overall development of the State covering various sectors like Health, Environment, Women Empowerment, Energy, Education etc. Noteworthy contributions to the Goa CSR Authority initially came from Colorcon Asia Pvt. Limited, towards “Vision for All” initiative -This initiative has already provided eye checkups to approximately 230,000 school children, across the State. Ophthalmic surgeries, if required besides distribution of spectacles to the needy students will be done free of cost. Advani Hotels and Resorts, (India) Ltd. have contributed towards CSR fund.

Power Grid Corporation of India Ltd, under its CSR initiative have agreed to contribute Rs.2.64 crore as financial assistance for supply of Medical Equipment/Instrument for Automation in Blood Bank, two Advanced Life Support (ALS) ambulances and six Basic Life Support (BLS) ambulances Hospitals in Goa State. The State Bank of India sponsored tailoring machines for the SHGs in the areas of Entrepreneurship. STEM LAB has been recently set up at Government Primary School through support by. Entecres Labs Pvt. Ltd. we plan to set up STEM labs in majority of the schools through CSR initiative.

Also, Water ATM, a CSR initiative by Y4D Foundation, shall be installed at Secretariat Complex, Porvorim Goa for the benefit of staff and general public visiting the complex, wherein the usage of plastic water bottles in the vicinity shall be reduced considerably.

Please share your vision and steps planned for Goa CSR Authority?
The Companies Act, 2013, mandates that eligible corporations allocate 2% of their profits towards CSR initiatives. The CSR Authority is exclusively working on in the area of Socio – Economic Development through best practices. The Goa CSR Authority serve as the channel through which these funds will be channelized to execute projects across various government departments with an emphasis that the projects benefit the Goan community and build a better tomorrow for themselves.

Based on Goa CSR Authority success, do you think other States in India could also benefit, has any Central & State Government approached (Goa CSR Authority) for guidance?
Goa CSR Authority has been a huge success in its first two years of inception. It has been observed that small and far-flung states get a measly amount of corporate social responsibility (CSR) funds spent by companies, while large state economies benefit most from it. These States can certainly follow Goa model of CSR Authority in various sectors of development.

Big take away from Goa CSR Conclave in 2023? Are you planning similar Conclave in 2024?
On 14th December, 2023, the Goa CSRA organized a unique CSR initiative i.e. Goa CSR Conclave, under my Chairmanship, which was witnessed and participated by more than 100 Corporate Houses, PSUs, Government Institutions and Private Sectors. The Conclave started producing acceptance and contribution from the Corporates and Government Institutions for the Noble Cause in the areas of Education, Skill, Entrepreneurship, Environment, Health, and Energy within a month from the date the conclave being held.

Buoyed by the success of Goa CSR Conclave 2023, the government may consider organizing a similar event during 2024 for further enhancement of CSR activities in the State.

How much funds have been used for development of backward talukas of Goa?
The State of Goa has one of the highest GDP per capita in the country. Also, Goa boasts of well-developed infrastructure in the fields of Health, Transport, Education, health, transport and communication etc. Also, Goa is highest ranked State in the National Social Progress Index (SPI) released by Economic Advisory Council to Prime Minister (EAC-PM) and has been classified as a ‘very high progress’ State.

Do you think, Goa CSR Initiative can be a game changer for the ranking done by NITI Aayog?
Goa CSR Initiative can play a big role in improving the NITI Aayog across various sectors. Healthy CSR Initiatives can be modelled to develop key sectors of the economy such as Education, Health, Energy, Entrepreneurship etc. which can have positive influence on the State, thereby improving its performance at national level.

How many Memorandum of Understanding (MoUs) have been signed by Goa CSR Authority? Which sectors majorly benefitted in the State?
Nine Memorandum of Understanding (MoUs) have been signed by the State Government with the corporate houses and institutions to participate in education, skill development, social, environmental and health sectors, among others. These MoUs shall have positive impact across diverse fields, with visible results expected in the coming years.

Memorandum of Understanding (MoUs) have been signed with Colorcon Asia Pvt. Ltd., The Power Grid Corporation of India Ltd, The Indian Institute of Science (IISc), AlphaMERS Ltd, EduHub Sports Private Limited, The National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS), Ather Energy, Central Institute for Indian Languages (CIIL), and Entrepreneurship Development Institute of India (EDII).

Besides these MoUs bodies of repute such as World Bank, UNICEF, ISRO, EDII, Central Power Research Institute are in active consultation with us.

In 2022, Goa CSR Authority urged Corporates operating in the State to give 1% of proceeds to the State Government under Goa CSR Authority? What has been the response now?
Corporates having operations in the State have been requested to give 1 per cent of their proceeds to the Goa government under the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) to the Goa CSR Authority. The government is ready to give freedom/choice to the companies to lend CSR for the sector of their choice like health, education and others

How can CSR Authorities help India meet the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals by 2030?
Goa has become Achiever in 2 goals, Frontrunner in 8 goals, Performer in 3 goals and Aspirant in 2 goals as per the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Index 3.0. Further, Goa has computed its own Goa SDG Index 2023, wherein the State has become Achiever in 4 goals, Frontrunner in 10 goals and Performer in 2 goals.

This CSR Initiative will push the nation towards achievement of sustainable development goals and public-private partnership in transforming India. Increased contributions from private partners are needed to supplement public spending. Private philanthropy can be a catalyst to increase government spending and cover the funding shortfall. Also, private philanthropy can ensure timely and effective fund deployment, with greater accountability and monitoring.

How do you view, importance of CSR Initiatives for Goa’s overall development?
CSR Initiatives are very important for Goa’s overall development of the State. The CSR funding can be utilized to undertake various development activities in the field of education, health, skill development etc. Goa CSR

Authority being manned by persons in professional expertise, proper and detailed study shall be taken up to identify projects which will have positive impact on society, community and environment. Through study of the proposal shall invite interested corporates to invest in such proposals through its CSR policy also building brand image for them.

What steps have been taken to attract investment that align with social and environmental objectives?
The Goa CSR Authority have been closely coordinating with corporates, institutions involved in Environmental and Social sectors of development and have been successful in getting corporates, institutions on board to invest in Environmental and Social issues. Like I said earlier, The State Bank of India has done a lot during previous years, last month SBI sponsored tailoring machines for the SHGs in the areas of Women empowerment. Also, discussions with Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL) with respect to river cleansing process is underway. I thank and congratulate all the eminent institutions and Goa CSR Authority for these initiatives. I am sure they will collectively contribute to the socio-economic development of Goa.

Are there specific sector of projects where Goa CSR Authority increase CSR involvement for development and investment opportunities?
The Goa CSR Authority is mandated for optimum utilisation of the CSR contributions from government PSUs and private sector companies for the development of the State and benefit the people at large.

Various corporates/institutions have contributed CSR funds in the field of education, skill development, social, environmental and health sectors, among others. As mentioned earlier, Power Grid Corporation of India Ltd, has agreed to provide financial assistance for the procurement of two Advanced Life Support (ALS) ambulances and six Basic Life Support (BLS) ambulances for Directorate of Health Services, Government of Goa.

Alphamers Ltd will provide crucial support for the cleanup of solid waste and plastic waste in our rivers. Also, the CSR Authority is committed to Child Development via education, Skill Development, making Goa a research hub with cooperation with domestic and global ventures. In collaboration with ISRO, with a purpose to provide (Education through Satellite Edusat) in addition to the regular classes, shall deliver activity-based learning across Goa. Shortly 2-way transmission in Higher Education with the support of ISRO is being planned apart from Teachers Training in Digital Content Creation and delivery.

The Government of Goa in line with National agenda keeping fitness as a Prime Mover of State and National Development initiated “Student Fitness Program Certificate” implemented by Greenlight Fitness to promote Fit Goa, Skill Goa and Inclusive Goa. The project will create awareness on fitness and various Physical activities that promote fitness, encourage indigenous sports and make fitness reach every school, college, Panchayat/village,etc.

As an aid in modern language teaching government in association of Thaliyola Infotech Pvt from Delhi has setup Language Labs at Government College, Sanquelim and Government College, Margao.

Foundation for Science Innovation and Development, (FSID), Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru as partnered with Government of Goa to take up various activities to enable the industry to develop its capability in entrepreneurial (through startups and incubate companies), translational and transformational research, technology and product development utilizing the specialized skills, expertise, intellectual and infrastructural assets of IISc.

What’s your message to other States to follow the success of Goa CSR Authority?
I would like to say that States especially smaller States can certainly follow Goa model of CSR Authority in various sectors of the development.


Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this section and articles contributed are those of the respective authors, who have submitted it as their original work. They do not reflect the opinions or views of CSR Times, or its employees, management and group publications. The accuracy and reliability of information presented has not been verified by CSR Times. CSR Times will not be held responsible in any way for the content of this article.






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