CSR – Catalyzing Change…

With Ashok Pamidi, CEO, Nasscom Foundation @ NASSCOM CSR Conclave


Thoroughly enjoyed a productive half-day at Nasscom CSR Leadership Conference.  Their were exceptional intervention case studies presented by ICICI and several other Corporate entities. Liked the Dell and Adobe messaging as well. Some of the key messages that I noted were:


  • Business cannot succeed if societies around them fail…
  • The most important piece in the value creation is “people”. It is their passion that makes the final difference. The employees are the soul of the company.
  • AI is ‘Artificial Intelligence’ and AI is ‘Augmented Intelligence’. Artificial intelligence is machine oriented – and Augmented intelligence is people oriented. It is the later that will be the game changer!
  • Hard-work without talent is mediocrity…talent without hard-work &empathy is a shame. Best way to learn empathy is not a classroom but the field…just volunteer…


Liked the ICICI CSR case video of the blind mushroom grower athlete and his life journey … clearly, life had taken his sight – not his dreams! Healing is a key part of the correction!

And then I liked the overall discussions:


  • India has been the first nation to notify a CSR directive for the corporate world
  • Last year, over 8300 crores contributed to CSR by over 2000 corporates…
  • Section 7 of Companies Act,2013 incorporating CSR act has a number of voluntary guidelines and the government is looking at being very liberal and not penal in its execution. However, 190 corporate were sent a notice for the first time for missing on their 2% contribution and not explaining the same…
  • Proposed amendment to CSR notiification to ease its execution were discussed in a closed group by Nasscom team and MOCA rep. All suggestions were practical and kudos to NASSCOM to bring the same on the table as a leading industry advocacy agent.


Observed that Education, Healthcare and rural development were the highest spend areas for CSR. There as a tilt to spend in the industrialized parts of the nation (Maharashtra, Karnataka, Chennai…).

Startups were a clear flavor of the season discussion. Saw CISCO Inqubator implemented by Nasscom in the display area. The young girls were showing their products implemented using ESP8266 …and clearly intoxicated by their innovations….


DTU Wonen’s College Innovations at Nasscom CLC


The group discussed recommendation of aligning CSR activities permitted under Section 7 of Companies act,2013 with the UN SDG (United Nations Sustainable Development Goals).  UN SDG targets breakthru results in global sustainability issues by 2030. More important, it is monitored globally and the measures are harmonized. And the monitored results can be interesting. For example, it shows that the biggest problem facing India is not necessarily hunger where it is making excellent strides – but ‘jobs and employable skill development”.

Which brings me back to my key thought – it is critical for India to unleash innovation – unleash its startup energy – for its problems. Government is subtly pushing, leaders like CISCO, Intel are building the startup push – and we should not flag behind on this key enabler of SDG breakthru for India.

This is the power of many – with a good policy – catalyzing change!