A conference was jointly organized by NITI Aayog and Department of Public Enterprises (DPE) today on channeling Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Funds for Development of Aspirational Districts by Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSEs). The conference was attended by senior government officers including Shri Amitabh Kant, CEO, NITI Aayog, Ms Seema Bahuguna, Secretary, Department of Public Enterprises, Ms Preeti Sudan, Secretary, Health and Family Welfare, and Ms Rina Ray, Secretary, Department of School, Education and Literacy (DSEL), among others. Also, over 150 participants from CPSEs including Chairman - Managing Directors, functional directors for CSR and other officers deliberated extensively to direct focus in the Aspirational Districts.Transformation of Aspirational Districts is a flagship initiative of the Government of India in partnership with the State Governments, anchored at the Niti Aayog under which a concerted effort is being made to rapidly transform 117 Aspirational Districts, which have shown relatively less progress in health, Nutrition, education etc. The theme of the conference was to realign deployment of CSR fund of CPSEs in accordance with the pressing requirements in aspirational districts, especially in the sector of health, nutrition and education. Such step would make a visible impact as the CSR of these enterprises are in the excess of Rs. 3200 cr per annum.
The conference deliberated on setting a mechanism to channelize large part of CSR in these sectors in aspirational districts.In his keynote address, Shri Amitabh Kant, CEO of NITI Aayog stated that for India to capitalize on its demographic transition, it must improve its outcomes on the Human Development Index. He encouraged the officials from CPSEs to focus their efforts in the Aspirational Districts, particularly, on the thematic areas of Health & Nutrition, and Education. Secretary, DPE stated that the initiatives undertaken as part of CSR projects be sustainable and provide support for operation and maintenance.Ms Preeti Sudan, Secretary, Health and Family Welfare recommended various activities in health sector including Ayushman Bharat programme that could be funded by CSR. Ms Rina Ray, Secretary, DSEL stated that CPSEs should look to support infrastructure projects for education such as up-gradation of lower primary to upper primary schools that will help in reducing drop out ratios, resulting from constraints in existing infrastructure. She also added that as a special measure to reduce drop-out rates of girls, CSR can be used for providing bicycles to girl students. Officers from ONGC and Oil India made presentations on their initiatives under the CSR programme and highlighted the significant impact of some of the projects in Health and Education.The sessions were followed by an open-house discussion to facilitate Q&A from the participants. Many officials from the CPSEs expressed their support to work in partnership with State and the districts administration of the Aspirational District to improve outcomes in Health & Nutrition and Education. The programme concluded on the note that the CPSEs will jointly formulate plans with both Central Prabhari officers and District collectors to support initiatives in the Aspirational Districts.