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Creating neutral platforms for candid discourse on CSR

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Essar Foundation’s Knowledge Series

June 24, 2016 Bookmark and Share  

CSR practitioners are impacted by a plethora of internal and external challenges in functioning within an environment of complexities. Beginning with forging sustainedrelationships with stakeholders, maintaining relevance with local context.  Managing accentuated and often conflicting government expectations from CSR in view of the new CSR law is another complex area. Besides, there are mandatory compliances, implementation partnerships with NGOs, and enhanced reporting protocols within business. Asthe perspectives on doing CSR is graduallyevolving, all of this requires a lot more professional approach as well as deeper understanding of the sector with a long term vision.

Creating neutral platforms for candid discourse on CSR

Furthermore, the number of subjects and thematic areas of development one is expected to understand and work on is diverse, and so are the issues relating to each. Considering this, it is even more pertinent for CSR practitioners, decision makers and business leaders to come together and discuss on topics of relevance, thereby learning from each other’s experiences.

Essar Foundation’s Knowledge Series is created with this view and a long term vision of steering India’s CSR towards a more mature, more evolved direction. Knowledge Series is a neutral discussion and thought-exchange platformthat collaborates with diverse organizations on a regular basis to generate discourse around pertinent issues of CSR and sustainability.

Neutral Platform for Discourse

Participants from government, business, academia, NGOs, media houses, and subject matter experts participate to bring about diverse perspectives to the platform. Picking up lessons, learnings and ideas is essential as an immediate outcome from such interactive sessions at Knowledge Series. Discussing details of issues, concerns, and direction for further action. The objective is to initiate dialogue, discuss, network and eventually, collaborate.

As shared understanding on issues would evolve, so would partnerships around common initiatives as a result of it. Subsequent to a substantial number of discourses and conclaves, Knowledge Series may, in future,gradually emerge as a platform to be a forum for CSR partners that would make unbiased policy recommendations and advocate appropriate way forward for CSR at a macro level.

Upcoming Roundtable: India’s Soaring Problem of Drug Abuse

Most CSR organizations have public health as a major area of intervention. Public health in India is a massive area requiring sustained resources, improved service delivery and integrated action. Convergence with existing health services of govt., building capacity of health officials, prevention of communicable and non-communicable diseases, sanitation and hygiene, all fall under the scopeof public health. There are several issues plaguing public health and therefore, it was imperative to hold a series of interactions to see how CSR is contributing, how the outcomes can be improved and what could be the opportunities for collaboration in the arena. The first in the series was held in association with Jon Snow Inc., a leading international organization in the public health space. Essar Foundation’s thought-exchange platform, Knowledge Series, in partnership with The Times of India and EconomicTimes.com CSR, is organizing a conclave on “India’s Soaring Problem of Drug Abuse”.

Knowledge Series aims to act as a neutral knowledge sharing avenue in CSR space with representation from corporates, NGOs, media and academia.

Public health, as a series of roundtables, under the title ‘Improving Public Health in India: The Power of Partnerships’, was initiatedto examine the most prominent issues in depth and to drive opportunities of collaboration. The upcoming roundtable in association with Times of India and Economic Times CSR is on the topic of drug abuse.According to official data from the ministry of social justice and empowerment, India has an estimated 3.4 million drug abuse victims. This number excludes alcoholics, who figure at around 11 million in the country.

India is highly vulnerable because it is sandwiched between two infamous drug routes and poppy growing areas, namely the ‘Golden Crescent’ on the northwest and ‘Golden Triangle’ on the northeast, where drugs are easily available.As per available data, the number of drug addiction related suicides has been steadily increasing since 2004. From 2004 to 2013, we observe a jump of a whopping 149%.

Drug Abuse in India: Facts

  • At least 25,426 people committed suicide due to drug and addiction related problems in the last 10 years across India. This comes down to an average of 7 per day.
  • From 2004 to 2013, drug addiction related suicides saw a jump of a whopping 149%.
    (Source: NCRB, Parliamentary data)

Though a lot is being done in the area of primary and preventive healthcare, there is a growing realization that corporates may not have recognized the issue of soaring drug abuse to its fullest extent. Substance / drug abuse directly and indirectly bear lasting impacts on the overall wellbeing of the communities and society, often causing irreparable detriment to the individuals and their kin. Drug abuse is normally perceived as an urban phenomena, and is not very well understood in all its dimensions. It is also predominantly a phenomenon among youth, which has a direct bearing on the capacity of the youth to contribute to the growth of the country. Several activities to generate greater awareness against drug abuse in sporadic manner have been going on. But what can be sustainably done to make a more lasting positive impact through collaborative efforts is what the upcoming Knowledge Series roundtable expects to explore. Key speaker at the conclave is one of India’s leading anti-drug crusaders, Dr. Yusuf Merchant, President of Drug Abuse Information, Rehabilitation and Research Centre (DAIRRC). Mr.Kunal Kishore, who is the Coordinator - Drug Use and HIV Prevention in South Asia at United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, New Delhi, shall also speak at the conclave.

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