Catalysing Change 2006-07

NASSCOM Foundation (NF), starting in the year 2005, brings out an annual publication on the state-of-play of CSR within the IT industry. Today, not only is the IT and ITE industry fuelling India's growth, it is also acknowledged to be one of the front runners in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives, investing between 0.1-1% of their annual turnovers for CSR programmes spanning various sectors/themes such as education, health, poverty reduction, etc.

This year, NF engaged PricewaterhouseCoopers Private Limited (PwC) to carry out a survey of its member companies to understand the key CSR drivers, identify the sectors and themes of CSR engagement, analyse the types of interventions and institutional mechanisms adopted by the companies to implement CSR activities and suggest a possible role that NASSCOM Foundation could play in furthering the Indian IT industry's CSR agenda.  The report titled 'Catalysing Change 2006-07' focuses on CSR practices and interventions of the IT and ITES companies among NASSCOM's members, with a special emphasis on education related projects. Digital Learning presents key extracts of this report.

The report 'Catalysing Change 2006-07' was a result of a survey conducted amongst the NASSCOM members . A questionnaire was developed based on the key objectives of the study and circulated to a wide cross section of NASSCOM members for their response. Along with the questionnaire, the companies were also requested to share additional information through case studies and best practice documents to assist the researchers in getting a deeper understanding of their CSR interventions. 44 companies participated in the survey by filling in and returning the questionnaires to NASSCOM Foundation. The respondents included both Indian IT companies as well as multinational IT companies. Companies who participated in the survey include Microsoft Corporation (India) Pvt. Ltd., CISCO, Oracle, Hewlett Packard, Intel Technologies, TCS, Wipro, Infosys, Satyam,  Xansa, Firstsource, Covansys, TALLY Solutions, Kale Consultants, ITC, Infotech and others.

“As the concept of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) develops, it is essential for companies to keep abreast of new trends and innovative projects. It is with this aim that NASSCOM Foundation (NF), starting in the year 2005, brings out this annual publication on the state-of-play of CSR within the IT industry. Kiran Karnik

The report 'Catalysing Change 2006-07' is spread across nine chapters covering Corporate Social Responsibility and its Evolution, Background of the Current Exercise, Sector and Geographical Focus of CSR Interventions, Types of CSR Interventions and Links with Millennium Development Goals Institutional Mechanisms for Undertaking CSR, CSR – Public Policy & Practices, The Way Ahead and a long an Annexure listing select CSR initiatives by NASSCOM member companies.

CSR investment is dominant in education and investment is at multiple levels!

The Study CSR environment in the Indian IT industry is characterised by a wide variety of CSR programmes across development sectors and themes although CSR investment in education is dominant.

Key CSR Activities of Indian Firms

Based on feedback provided by 17 respondents, it was seen that the majority of firms invest more than 50% of their total CSR budget in education focused initiatives. The findings also indicate that in terms of the level at which CSR interventions are targeted, 21 out of 39 (or 54%) of respondents are actively involved in primary education. It is to be noted that intervention in primary and higher education is not mutually exclusive and that firms have reported CSR activity at multiple levels.

Investment flow is mainly centred on the southern and western states of India!

Infosys intervenes in primary education, by providing books for school libraries, as well as in higher education, by hosting a fellowship programme for PhD students across 12 premier technical institutions in India. It also has a Campus Connect Programme through which the IT industry and technical institutes share best practices and strategies on curriculum content and training module design.

Employees volunteering their skills as mentors are again a type of CSR intervention that can be seen both at primary and secondary education levels. For instance, at the secondary level, Firstsource employees in Mumbai volunteer as trainers at an NGO in the Bandra suburb where they impart vocational skills to youth living in slums. Similarly, Xansa employees coach secondary school students in Chennai on life skills. At the primary level, KPIT Cummins Infosystems Ltd. provides one month training modules in MS Office applications to needy school children in Kalyan, Maharashtra.

% Share of CSR Investment in Education

CSR interventions May also be targeted specifically at one education level. For example, the Azim Premji Foundation (APF) provides technical and financial assistance to state governments in areas such as primary education system management, child friendly teaching and learning and ICT-aided learning in primary schools. And assist the government with framing primary education policy, programme implementation, capacity building, community mobilisation and monitoring & evaluation.

CSR programmes of the companies tend to be dedicated CSR programmes that specifically target differently-abled and socially disadvantaged sections of society such as senior citizens and orphaned girl children. HP's CSR programmes are run entirely by its employees who volunteer their managerial and technical skills for
these activities.

CSR investment flow is mainly centred on the southern and western states of India. While some firms do have CSR programmes that have a pan-Indian reach, most firms are in the process of developing their capacities to roll out CSR programmes beyond the immediate vicinity of their business location. Again, CSR interventions of the respondent companies do not appear to be determined on the basis of development indices of the states where such investments are made

This is explained by the fact that most firms choose to undertake CSR investments in the area of their operations and that most IT Indian firms have their corporate headquarters in southern and western India. Tamil Nadu and Karnataka emerged as the most popular destinations for CSR activity in education followed closely by Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and the National Capital Region.

Interestingly, an associated result of the survey is that within the states that register high CSR activity, most of the CSR initiatives are targeted towards schools in urban and peri-urban areas. Companies like CISCO (Networking Academy Programme) and Intel however have CSR programmes that are implemented across the country and are exceptions to this general trend. Apan-Indian CSR presence appears to be more likely in the case of multinational firms who already have global CSR programmes on the ground.

Indian IT Industry takes its CSR very seriously!  The desire to make socially responsible investments drives a majority of the Indian IT companies to invest in CSR…

The survey findings show that the Indian IT Industry takes its CSR very seriously. 77% of the respondents perceive CSR to be a critical business activity and more than 85% of the respondents have active CSR programmes in different areas. The survey also revealed that a combination of factors, rather than one single factor, motivates the companies to undertake CSR initiatives.

The industry believes CSR investment in education contributed to a wider national goal…

In the survey as many as 86% felt that CSR investment in education contributed to a wider national goal. 51% of respondents feel that investment in education today is necessary to create a “talent pool” in the future from which they could fulfil their demand for human resources. The survey also found that CSR activity in education is primarily driven by the same altruistic