CSR & SUSTAINABILITY CONCLAVE 2022 – Key Highlights from Mr. Amod K Kanth’s Speech at the Conclave



Founder General Secretary Mr Amod Kanth Spoke At Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) & Sustainability Conclave 2022 –  Covering Role of Voluntary Organisations, CSR Funding – Governance, Accountability & Sustainability - Excerpts From Speech Along With Transcription

It was a wonderful session, some of the key highlights from Mr Kanth’s speech at the CSR and Sustainability Conclave. Mr Kanth spoke about one of the main concerns that is the disconnect between Government-People and Government-Civil Society Organisations/Voluntary Organisations. He said, “there is a distinct gap between the not-so-efficient public administration and the profit-oriented private sector that is getting stronger by the day, particularly in crisis situations that we face”. This situation creates the big space and the need for the NGOs (Non-Governmental Organisations) or CSOs (Civil Society Organisations) to act as the ‘Third Sector’ of governance and developmental process, or perhaps the ‘Fourth Sector’ if we consider the democratic institutions and elected bodies separately from the bureaucratic structures and the corporate, as three other sectors.

Mr Kanth briefly shared about Jan Shikshan Sansthan (JSS), 271 units running across India, Skill Development Programmes by various institutions, Government being the major stakeholder. He also spoke about with Prayas’ evolution since 1988 until today. He said Prayas is a chance creation with was created for providing shelter to homeless children. Today Prayas has 164 centres/units providing education, skilling, life skill program, health services, etc and also 38 Homes/Shelters across India. Mr Kanth emphasized on India’s neglected population of youth, women and children often phrased as deprived and marginalised. He said, “India has the largest share of the deprived and the marginalized among the one 1.3 billion plus, out of the 7.9 billion plus inhabitants of the world, who are said to be living without shelter or basic amenities required for human existence.”  He further added, “Clearly, we need to introspect as to why despite being the 4th or 6th biggest economy in the world alongside our highly acclaimed democratic governance structures and an inclusive society, we have failed to associate our mute marginalized millions in the task of re-engineering our society towards basic subsistence, equitable development and growth”. The Aspirational India has created new demands co-existing with the problems arising out of India’s huge poverty-nearly 1/3rd of the people below poverty line- which gives us 131st position in terms of the Human Development Indicators (HDIs) and the widening huge gaps between the rich and poor. Quoting Bangladesh’ s ranking on HDI, being 100th , Mr Kanth summarised how Bangladesh’s development performance and voluntary organisations function in the neighbouring country.

He said, “The monolithic approach towards the voluntary sector does not create any positive impact while complementing the efforts of the government. Perhaps, it is debatable whether an alternative system of governance and development, as it was resorted to in the case of Bangladesh through massive NGOs like Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee (BRAC) and Gramin Bank and in some other third world countries, might help us to some extent. The CSOs have the most crucial role to play in national development when the country is moving towards inclusive governance through a mix of governmental and voluntary actions, particularly in the crucial sectors of education, child care, protection & development, health care, environment etc."

CSR funds, allocated can be linked to the voluntary organisations important for development, there is a need for connect between the government and civil society voluntary organisations and New Education Policy 2020 being aligned to employment prog.  In times to come, the regulatory provisions being more stringent, both for the CSOs and the Corporate, we can visualise the emerging role of this important sector constituted by civil society through the voluntary organizations to fill the gap. The areas like alleviation of hunger and poverty, promoting education and vocational skills particularly in the light of the unserved segments of population within the framework of the National Education policy 2020, gender equality and women empowerment besides environmental sustainability, give immense opportunities for CSR-CSOs partnerships.

Mr Kanth, justifying CSR funds to CSOs, which are not really happening and being diverted to company’s own foundation, Government relief funds and international institutions. There has been an allocation of 24,000 crores of funds from various companies to the CSR Sector. He said, “Their abilities of voluntary organisations to connect and deliver the need-based services were way higher than industry led trusts and foundations. With this, he reiterated with this there is an enhanced need for transparency within the voluntary sector which will further make us more responsible and responsive. As there are 1.3 lakh organisations registered on Darpan portal. There is a need for connect between Government – Voluntary Organisations, Government Policies- People, thereby emphasizing on the wider connect between communities, policies created for these very same people. One such step is the creation of Standing Committee on CSOs by NITI Aayog to build synergy between various stakeholders, Mr Kanth being the Jt. Coordinator of the same committee. Lastly, he mentioned about Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and how they are aligned with Hon’ble Prime Minister’s vision for development with a three-pronged strategy. He said, “Hon’ble Prime Minister thoughtfully converted into three grouping, strategizing his own vision with fifteen years of NITI Aayog’s vision, seven-year strategic programmes and three-year action plans. These goals become beacon lights for us. He further added, “taking into account HDI Indicators. We aren’t doing well. Voluntary organisations can work as watchdogs for people, mobilisers of public opinion and can contribute in the development process of the country”.

Mr Kanth covered the whole gamut of governance, accountability and the need to bridge the gaps for social good of the people. He concluded by adding, “With support of working with people on the ground – marginalised, neglected and disabled.  There is a social sector, voluntary organisation can work from policy to grassroots level. We, Prayas operates at grassroots level.” Mr Kanth was asked questions by the participants and guests, which he answered and afterwards was presented with a memento.

For more information and interaction with our Founder General Secretary, Mr. Amod K. Kanth. Kindly write to:

Mr. Pawan Kumar, Manager- Media, Email -pawan@prayaschildren.org, Contact (M): 9311506910


Mr Amod K Kanth began his address at the conclave of CSR and Sustainability 2022:  by bringing in brief about the Jan Shikshan Sansthan (JSS), one being in Ramgarh, Jharkhand.  The program in the community. Something about JSS, it was Shramik Vidyapeeth which became JSS with ups and downs and survived. The Hon’ble PM announced setting up of 73 JSS.  JSS being remarkable, one happens to be in Ramgarh. Where I participated. There is a big problem of disconnect between community & skill development programmes and the industry. Finding jobs become a problem. Skilling being the target area. Annually, one crore trainees coming out at national level. 8 to 10 percent find jobs. Skilling being the target area. I thank Coal India for skilling 200 youth project, community-based project community and youth brought on the same platform. Dramatic changes have taken place since then in the lives of these youth. Again, we are thankful for being trusted once again. We are a partner in this and both Coal India and Prayas, working together.

There is lot to say for voluntary organisations and their role. For Prayas, talking times of 1988, Prayas is a chance creation, 1988, in the city of Delhi, children were without homes came in contact care of police. In 1980’s there were no homes and shelters. I was in the Police and in in 1980’s, children were without homes so absence of programmes and no place for their housing shelter. Juvenile Justice Act was taking roots then. From 1988 until today, we have grown far and wide we have 164 centres, latest being in Kashmir, 684 co-workers. 38 homes/ shelters. The 25 - member governing body of Prayas with highly respected people, & learned members and in Andamans (primary centres health under NRHM) awareness raising and work), Jharkhand and Bihar. This has given us ample opportunities to understand, to know the role of voluntary organisations in various situations in national development work with the marginalised people

CSOs has important role in contributing to national development to concerning the marginalised sections of the society. Indian state is the amalgam of strong and vibrant uninterrupted institutions, served by a strong steel frame. After LPG, economy has expanded and third military power, and on Human Development Index (HDI), we are at 131 rank.. HDI define real health of the society Why this dichotomy is there one has to see. During the covid – 170 million people slipped under BPL. The list of billionaires - 94 or 98 of them. At the global stage we have expansion of our economy, rich corporates becoming richer and powerful. Voluntary sector organisations has to bridge gaps between rich and poor, have and have nots. Poor becoming poorer. 1.4 million voluntary registered organisations. They have an important role to play in the national sense. Democratic institutions from panchayat to parliament, elected representatives, governance structure not only today’s development but tomorrows. Market economy, 4th or 6th largest with 4th sector in India’s development process, on one hand combines with democratic institutions is voluntary organisations. India’s political hierarchy is driven by caste and community driven, have their own agenda. Political masters and political workers are not so much conversant with that. Therefore, we need voluntary organisations, this sector has an important role to play, he made. Time has gone when were just charities. Not to play part and part of govt structure Gandhian system when we were not part of the govt systems.

Now the management systems we have to be transparent, accountable, responsive, and responsible. We are accountable to govt, community, people, law, various companies from whom money is coming.  Whether community led voluntary organisations can play important role can create alternative path

Case study of Bangladesh and their voluntary organisations, Rural Advancement Committee and Gramin Bank. Bangladesh had largest voluntary organisations.  I was able to visit 2-3 times and studied about their development process and involvement of voluntary organisations. Back then state or Govt of Bangladesh was not that strong, and development oriented. Twenty years back, voluntary organisations led development projects for 50 lakh people but now but today they have (Government) become more far more conscious of people’s needs and development led by people driven development. Govt. of India is far in comparison to Bangladesh. Govt of Bangladesh on HDI indicators, 100th rank on HDI, better than India. Why this gap, matter of thought.

Coming to National Education Policy 2020 while it was drafted, 62 million who don’t go school were quoted. I appreciate the planning of National Education Policy- 2020. I met HRD Minister Shri Nishank and conveyed these kids our ours. 35 million children in need of care and protection (CNCP). On streets, lost, in need of care… CNCP. majority of children 32 million children in socio economic deprived groups. Sourced from NSSO 75th round. Right to free compulsory education is a dream. We have to do it.

CSR comes as a boon to us. CSR fund expenditure last year 20,000 crores. If we get CSR funds like of 24000-25000 crores.  Out of these funds, 10,000 crore went to PM Care. Hon’ble PM done has excellent care.  CSR private sector (not the public ones) funds must go into direct funds to those organisations into delivery of service. Lot of private sector going to Foundations and trusts under there name. These funds are going to people. Big and richer companies transfer funds to their own organisations. Pertinent questions, needs policies and rules. I will not talk about how of the policy this will be talked about by Bhaskar Sahab.  CSR funds must into voluntary organisations who are into service delivery. Indian constitution talks about freedom and justice. The justice – economic, political, cultural, social justice. Justice will become a myth. if we are not able to take care of deprived, poor- have nots marginalised women, disabled youth. Profiles of voluntary organisations are changing. If people driven has to emerge from the community. Limitations of Bureaucracy, corruption, unresponsiveness, but despite this we have to deliver. 1.3 lakh organisations on Darpan portal. We have to work and identify development areas. We are able to fill gaps. We will have to be motivated and responsive and responsible.  India’s first war of independence sepoy mutiny, society registration act exists of then. Need for new regulation.

Draft policy – strengths and weaknesses of voluntary organisations. Today Prayas has 164 centres/units providing education, skilling, life skill program, health services, etc and also 38 Homes/Shelters across India. People not aware about resources and like for Prayas our institutions and care – vocational training centres. Since we are also not sure from where the funds will come. Identify the areas where CSOs can be engaged. Suggest improvements, participation, synergy to be created between the people, govt and service delivery organisation. 115 aspirational districts and youth of Kashmir. Where I go frequently, and associate the Government of the programme.  We with NITI Aayog on Kashmir, joint action plan with the Government. SDG, these 17 goals, PM thoughtfully converted into 3 in 2015 , his own vision 15 year NITI Aayog’s vision, 7-year strategic programmes and 3-year action plan. These goals become beacon lights for us. Taking into account HDI Indicators. We aren’t doing well. Voluntary organisations can work as watch dogs for people, mobilisers of public opinion, We have the govt, powerful and very strong. CSR, there is a need, Vinay Ji was really model. Unless you to broader need assessment, CSR will not succeed. With support of working with people on the ground – poverty alleviation, margin people disabled.  There is a social sector Voluntary organisation can work from policy to grassroot level. We Prayas operate at grassroots level.

Q/A by the Participants and Guests

Question: Coal India working in the remotest areas in the India, Jharkhand, Orissa and Bihar being the poorest. Coal India has three of its subsidiaries working in these states? How do you see the role of CSOs in the especially in these states, skilling, education, health and sanitization? How do you see the role of CSOs, Prayas and their modus operandi and take these states to path of development?

Answer: More marginalised kind of people, community led projects programmes Coal India’s various organisations, what happening the community, poverty alleviation programmes, their health needs and youth and community prog. Why migration takes place, like Uttarakhand living example, Jharkhand, the distance migration takes place on the need of socio-economic compulsions. Problems are there issues are, more problems visible and set ups in remotest places, they know what are the needs. Have to be addressed. Problems have to be responded which you are doing really well. Org like coal India, elaborate structure is responding well

Question: Sir, the second question is, the Connect b/w civil society organisations, govts, states: I would say bureaucracy, I read an article u mentioned about standing committee four forums if these come together, prog are designed, what are your thoughts in these lines?

Answer: The particular body that you are mentioning about, I am member coordinator of it and along with our organisation includes largest org of the country and there are four biggest charities are part of it, the largest organisations in the country. Connectivity at all levels If you talk connect, for ex.  about district level, the district magistrate or district collector, his office is the biggest in the district, controlling everything. So many things are with him/her. His brother offices sister offices in the sub districts blocks are not able to connect to the people. India’s Story of deprivation, marginalised and poor in the midst of affluence and one disconnect – industry and skill disconnect community-govt, people disconnect, education-skill disconnect. As I was telling Bhaskar bhai, combination of skill and education under one ministry, takes care of it, education and skill. Now days money going to charities going to voluntary organisations, no more a gift or dole. It’s a partnership in action. Like coal India has said it will be joint programme, that partnership will be equal and action based.

Question: Namaskar Sir. I m Arun, former police officer and work as independent director. People have said strict no to employees of CIL. As people have denied reason that CSR activities had not reached them. What do you suggest, how we can include them?

Answer: You have to solve it. They will have see the communities are employed, supported and have to convince. You have to bring in apolitical leaders, the natural leaders, you have convince them and provide with them solutions economy unki better life ..unke liye hai…. to there problem be it financial. Like in Kashmir, the civil society organisations. Recent meeting with 60 organisations, they know that I haven in police, bhayank disconnect hai, ground realities recently I went and like at our meeting point. govt thinking something else. Jab unke interests ko samajh payenge iske liye relationship create karna padega unke benefit ke liye Community leaders, groups can convince them. Path to access via their economy and their hearts.

Question: Regarding the national education policy, Sir, you said, introduced skill as part of it. which u mentioned. Like there is gap between what we do in schools and what’s offered in colleges. gap in terms of skills for employment, are we prepared for that kind of scheme. You being a though leader why we stick to one level of formulating why don’t we change policy to another level?

Answer: Like I said, I am speaking on voluntary organisations behalf. People’s behalf. I am not in favour of majority of Govt’s schemes, NEP is a neutral document. Skill as you are talking about Sixth Standard, there is a continuum, like culture se alag ho rahen  logo se alag, culture se alag, community se alag, the… skilling education combined is a powerful factor. ( There is a disconnect and they are alienated from their culture, community and skilling. This can be rectified by involving them and promoted). Like with JSS, the newly launched JSS is being given to industry and they have no connect and they will train and fly by night. As have no relationship with the community. With skill development, there is a problem. One crore children are being trained in a year. There future seems to be unclear.

Thank you.                                               ******************************

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