Odisha is endowed with rich natural resources and glorious cultural heritage. The long term stability in the Government over more than a decade in the State provides great opportunity for structural changes. A plethora of programmes and schemes have come out in recent years to address the issues of the poor and the vulnerable communities. However, the real and sustainable development of Odisha continues to remain elusive in spite of the economic growth rate of more than 6% during the last few years.
It is evident that, development challenges in Odisha are a ‘many hands problem’ and need a multi stakeholder approach. For too long the Government, the social sector and the private sector have been operating in isolation from each other with different priorities and agenda. Whilst it cannot be denied that the social sector and the private sector play a vital role in the growth and development of Odisha, there is a pressing need for this growth and development to be more inclusive and be an effective vehicle of development for all.
The Core Thematic Areas proposed for Discussion/Deliberation in the Conclave are:
- Drinking Water, Sanitation and Hygiene
- Food and Nutrition Security
- School Education
- Tribal Development
- Rain-fed Agriculture
- Employment and Migration
- Disaster and Climate Action
- Inclusive Governance and Social Accountability
- Social Exclusion and Inequality
- Forest and Natural Resource Management
- Water and River Ecology
- Democratizing Urban Governance
- Panchayati Raj
- Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)
- University Community Linkage
- Child Rights
The proposed initiative would facilitate larger participation of different stakeholders in the development process, inform people about the innovations & best practices, and influence the policies and programmes so as to achieve the goals as reflected in the SDGs.
- Stimulating public debate and creating an informed discourse around Sustainable Development Agenda 2030 for Odisha;
- Articulation of a clear road map for addressing the development challenges;
- Building an effective Collaborative framework to reach the SDGs;
- Creation of an Institutional mechanism for follow-up;
- Devising an independent monitoring mechanism through the Odisha Development Report (beginning 2018).
Odisha Development Initiative will create opportunities for meaningful collaboration and synergy building among the Government, Civil Society Organizations, Corporate Houses, Research Institutions and Donor Communities to have dialogue on the developmental challenges and collectively agree upon a common agenda to strategically overcome those challenges in the State.
With globalization and economic liberalization in 1990s, and partial withdrawal of controls and licensing systems there was a boom in the economic growth of the country. This led to the increased momentum in industrial growth, making it possible for the companies to contribute more towards social responsibility. What started as charity is now understood and accepted as responsibility. The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) has highlighted “Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is the continuing commitment by business to behave ethically and contribute to economic development while improving the quality of life of the workforce and their families as well as of the local community and society at large”
Section 135 of the Companies Act 2013 has given legal weighting and direction to CSR activities in India, by creating an opportunity for collaboration between the corporate houses, civil society organisations and the Government.
Odisha was among the first states of India to have published a CSR White paper in India. The eco- system is being enabled for companies to invest in and report on social activities. It has been mandatory for large companies to report on CSR projects undertaken and to disclose details including spending on these projects in their annual report. Since CSR is often termed as the third wave of development in India and is expected to have strong impact on the development of Odisha, it is deemed necessary to give attention to CSR and its upshots for the people of the state.
Inter-Agency Round-table on CSR
In the above context, the proposed Inter-Agency Round-table on CSR is expected to provide a platform to be informed, converse, debate and facilitate the complementary and aligned roles of these three constituencies i.e Government, corporate sector and civil society organisations.
The main objectives of the Inter-Agency Round table on CSR are thus:
- Creating a platform for collective informed reflection and action for effective implementation of CSR agenda;
- Building alliances between corporate entities, Civil Society Organisations and the Government for learning, sharing best practices and innovations;
This Roundtable is intended to bring together the stakeholders to buttress CSR for the last mile development of the state and cross fertilize the learning’s for the greater good of the people.