India Inc is not doing enough on the philanthropy front

Written by Kirtika Suneja | Updated: Nov 6 2013, 17:31pm hrs
Roshni Nadar Malhotra, Shiv NadarRoshni Nadar Malhotra (left) and Shiv Nadar
Twenty years into promoting the welfare of the lesser developed sections of society through their philanthropic initiative the Shiv Nadar Foundation (SNF) founder and chairman of HCL and SNF Shiv Nadar feels that Indian industrialists need to do more for this cause while Roshni Nadar Malhotra, trustee of the foundation, says that the project is very young and needs to build on the existing initiatives. In an interview with FEs Kirtika Suneja, the father-daughter duo share their plans for the foundation going ahead and the kind of impact they want to create. Excerpts:

What is SNF doing differently compared with the philanthropic ventures of other companies

Shiv Nadar: I firmly believe that philanthropy is most effective and outcome-oriented when you ensure that your pledge actually gets spent. Disclosures further help build an environment of trust and transparency. Good governance is therefore not an added bonus; it is at the heart of what makes philanthropy successful. In its journey of two decades, we have operated on our core values of transparency and robust governance systems.

Roshni Nadar Malhotra: Our strong conviction in creating institutions that become citadels of leadership development has led the foundation to adopt the creative philanthropic approach. In the last 20 years of its journey, the foundation has directly impacted 15,000 students and has created 2,000 first generation learners. We believe that these students would become true role models of the country inspiring not just their families and communities but the society at large. We are committing R3,000 crore for the next five years towards all new foundations and expansion of existing activities.

The foundation is already supporting the cause related to education and arts. Will it diversify into other disciplines

Shiv Nadar: Today the foundation has achieved significant size and scale and we believe that it is time to formalise our internal systems and processes, to enhance both beneficiary and stakeholders impact. There will be no diversification in the next 20 years.

Roshni Nadar Malhotra: SSN is the only institution to have reached some maturity as we started the other initiatives after 2009. So all the other initiatives are in a young phase and there is no room for new initiatives at the present time.

How are the different initiatives of the foundation

managed

Roshni Nadar Malhotra: SSN has trustees but there is an independent management board. We will do the same with the others as well, as we are waiting for the first few batches to pass. Our VidyaGyan initiative will be limited to two schools in UP only and the first few batches of the university will define its course. Moreover, we want to build a permanent facility for the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, Indias first and only philanthropic museum of contemporary and modern Indian art.

Shiv Nadar: We were due to get government accreditation for the Shiv Nadar University eight years ago and we are working on that front. The university itself will consume R300 crore annually for the next 10 years. Its first placement for the Masters programme is next year and Bachelors is the year after that.

Is India Inc doing enough when it comes to philanthropy

Shiv Nadar: No, India Inc is not doing enough and ought to do more because people in the corporate world know that performance needs to be measured frequently, and this is where the mandatory 2% CSR spend will come into the picture.

Will HCL Technologies and HCL Infosystems also contribute to the foundation especially now that Roshni has been inducted into the formers board of directors

Roshni Nadar Malhotra: The foundation is run by the family and the CSR activities of the two listed entities are completely different. As for becoming a director on the board of HCL Tech, I am only one board meeting old but have my plate full.