Sandeep Deshmukh( PhD) - Hemendra Kothari Foundation (Operations) & Wildlife Conservation Trust (Education & Livelihood), Director

Your views on CSR and Sustainability  
There is a new phase in the history of relationship between corporates and rest pf the society. This is marked by an enhancement in monetary resources through CSR routes to weaker sections of society; increased interest of political establishment in the institutional partnership with businesses. However, much more needs to be done on front of organizational preparedness in terms of ensuring convergence of CSR priorities, measurability and accountability, integrating the CSR, philanthropic and charitable transactions in one operational frame.

Sustainability needs to be understood in the sense of smooth continuation of process of social and economic change. So one expects a vibrant, democratic yet ethical regimen to emerge and persist in this country. We are far removed from this desirable goal at the moment.

This is the macro perspective. At the organizational level one expects an entrepreneurial ambience laced by practices informed by management principles.

Activities carried on by you on this front
Through Wildlife Conservation Trust we have supported 534 government primary schools. The number may go up to 600 this year. Our support goes for developing the professional abilities of teachers and teacher educators in the remote areas near protected forests. These are some of the most backward districts of the country. We also help the schools to become physically attractive for teachers, students and parents. To ensure that this positive environment in schools is continued, we are now working closely with government teacher support agencies in these remote areas.

Under Hemendra Kothari Foundation, besides the conventional charitable giving, we are supporting some model endeavours. Such as a three year long support to Paragon Charitable Trust to evolve its teacher education model. In another instance, we have been strengthening academic and managerial capability of an educational institution in Nashik near Mumbai. The second endeavour has been going on for seven years. It has yielded good results.

Your views on Students / Employees acting as volunteers
A great talent pool exists in cities of India in the form of students and employees. They can give radical solutions to some of the serious problems on front of delivery; infrastructure and intellectual tasks that this country faces. Again government needs to take initiative to facilitate the voluntarism. Corporates do it in a limited way within their own realms and the outcomes are scattered.

Why should students study CSR
Why shouldn’t they? You need to build values and habits of responsible citizenship right from early childhood.

India is challenged on front of philanthropy. The challenge is in terms of absence of a mass of visionary philanthropists. You can expect something like what happened in the world of American philanthropy in nineteenth and twentieth century.