Sandeep Chachra from ActionAid Association Talks about Equality
Mr. Sandeep Chachra, Executive Director of ActionAid Association, discusses the organization’s mission in India to guarantee equality, fraternity, and liberty for all in an exclusive interview.
What are the main areas of focus of the ActionAid Association?
A 50-year-old organization, ActionAid Association is present in 200 districts spread over 24 Indian states. ActionAid Association envisions a future free of injustice, poverty, and patriarchy. In order to aid marginalized groups in overcoming hunger, poverty, social inequalities, and patriarchy, the association works with them.
India is a continent-wide nation with a wide range of cultural, social, and other variations. In keeping with our objective, our primary area of work is assisting marginalized people in gaining access to resources that will improve their quality of life. The majority of people in the nation lack access to land and other resources, making it difficult for them to raise their level of living.
What is the one thing that India Inc. must incorporate in its climate response plan in 2023?
While businesses are becoming more conscious of the need to address climate change and are receiving requests from stakeholders and customers to take action, the main challenge is to promote effective climate response initiatives while combating unfounded greenwashing. Beyond the numerous standards and general obligations, businesses must make particular commitments and then track, evaluate, and report publicly on their progress. Such examples would represent climate leadership and establish ecosystem goals.
With support from India Inc., calls for a “wealth tax” and a “climate tax” to raise money for redistribution to address fast growing inequities, climate loss and damage, etc. would gain momentum. If India Inc. joined, supported, and assisted in realising these essential advancements in 2023, it would be a significant and forward-thinking step.
What are some areas which can use more intervention by CSRs?
Corporates have historically and do currently provided enormous assistance to ActionAid Association. Their primary area of focus for funding has been on humanitarian causes. Every significant tragedy that has occurred has prompted an action from ActionAid, and while we initially relied on internal funding and some solidarity assistance, a sizable portion of our reaction comes from CSR. We received about 77 lakhs in favour for COVID-19, and we responded in 24 states. We kept providing medical care and relief efforts in 2021. We set up three oxygen producing plants, supplied more than 6500 oxygen concentrators to more than 400 public health facilities, and opened 23 COVID care centres, including Children Covid Centers. Supporters of the corporation enjoyed the variety of answers.
Many of our other initiatives, including those to restore and revitalize water bodies, establish women farmer producers organizations, support the livelihoods of vulnerable women, re-enroll out-of-school children, and provide child support for vulnerable communities, are also supported by corporations. Additionally, businesses assist us in educating students about watershed management and STEM fields.
There is a need to diversify the areas where CSR money are being spent given that 60% of the CSR funds spent by firms in the last seven years were in the areas of education, healthcare, and rural development. Among them is assuring CSR support for regions and issues where there is a lack of resource flow and corporate interests are absent.
Corporates could also effectively promote the creation of women’s cooperatives, collectives, and businesses.
Corporates should work with already-existing NGOs and small community-led organizations rather than creating rival structures like foundations. The collaboration should also mobilize the pre-existing NGOs to build the stewardship for the initiatives rather than only concentrating on financial arrangements. They ought to contribute to the preservation of urban commons and the development of climatically tolerant urban dwellings.
Global economic recession is predicted to occur in 2023 by economists all across the world. How can organizations get ready to lessen the effect it has on their beneficiaries?
It is crucial for corporate giving to rise or at the very least ring fence CSR giving at current levels in light of the possibility of a worldwide recession. A recent element of the CSR law requires businesses to contribute 2% of their profits to CSR. Profits will be affected by a recession, which will then have an effect on the amount under 2%. It is crucial that businesses maintain the level of CSR financing allocated to development projects. This will guarantee a regular and large contribution to the CSR-funded initiatives now being supported.
Furthermore, corporations’ responsibilities should go beyond providing funds. They must work together with the government, civic society, and private sector to increase social and economic entitlements and improve access to already available public benefits. Vulnerable people would be further driven into poverty during economic slowdowns. Many underprivileged areas are still suffering economically as a result of COVID-19 job losses, rising inflation, and prior financial crises. India Inc. should therefore promote more social security and welfare within its own value chains, guarantee that labour rights are upheld, and engage in its own ostentatious consumerism. Their own overhead and payroll costs can be cut, and extravagances can be scaled back in order to better allocate resources.