Amity School of Architecture & Planning (ASAP) Amity University, Noida recently organized a National Conference on ‘Exploring the Role of CSR in Delivering Sustainable Smart Cities’ discussing the processes, policies and possible initiatives involved therein for building smart cities. The conference included a series of discussions centering around 3 technical sessions strategically structured to cover the issues of policy, governance, good practices, community engagement, institutional strengthening, corporate involvement and viability.
Here are some of the key highlights of the conference:
The first session was focused on defining and understanding the scope of smart cities and discussing the policy ambit of CSR. According to Schedule VII- Section 135 of the Companies Act, activities for companies under CSR that overlap with urban services are sanitation including contribution to Swachch Bharat and making available safe drinking water, environment sustainability, ecological balance, maintaining quality of soil, air and water and contributing to the Clean Ganga Fund and slum area development. Dr. Vikas Goswami, Head, Good & Green, Godrej Industries concluded that CSR has its own set of processes to contribute towards environmental and sustainable issues. However, an intense opportunity exists to explore its involvement in contributing towards the marginalized sections and services of the cities.
The second session revolved around sustainable achievements of CSR & PPP innovative actions in the urban amenities sector. Smartness in terms of governance, waste management, energy management, urban mobility etc. was discussed. For a cohesive & comprehensive development of a city into ‘smart category’ it requires not only involvement of Centre, State governments, but also public & private sectors (CSR) & citizens. The session concluded that the need of the hour is bringing social innovation with social engagement for less commercially viable services, like sanitation, waste management & open space amenities for urban poor.
The third session explored innovative sustainable initiatives for smart developments, specifically in the area of renewables, community participation and greener interventions in existing services to make them smarter & sustainable. Digbijoy Bhowmick, Sr Manager, Ernst & Young said that corporates are the best suited for uplifting the dignity and living standards of the deprived urban communities through CSR interventions. He also added that there are certain challenges in integrating CSR within smart cities program. The most important is that CSR law is in a very nascent stage and the whole CSR community is still struggling to shape it up. There is a need for strategically aligning the core activities of corporates with CSR interventions in smart cities. The session chair Dr. Shaleen Singhal, HOD, Policy Studies, TERI University concluded that the conference theme is of very vital importance in current development scenario.
The event was co-organized by CSR Pool Consulting – an online portico for Social sector, government, researchers, Corporates and academicians offering insights and knowledge on CSR and Sustainability and offering support for Events, Advertising, Brand & Media Promotion for social projects.