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Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a form of corporate self-regulation integrated into business
model. With the help of CSR policy, a business organization monitors and ensures its active compliance
with the spirit of the law, ethical standards, and international norms. In some models ,firm’s
implementation of CSR goes beyond compliance and engages in action that appear to enhance some
social goods , beyond the interests of the firm and that which is required by laws.

CSR is a process with the aim to embrace responsibility for the company’s actions and encourage a
positive impact through its activities on the environment, consumers, employees, communities
shareholders and all other members of the society.


Movement aimed at encouraging companies to be more aware of the impact of their business on the rest of
society, including their own stakeholders and the environment.

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a business approach that contributes to sustainable development by
delivering economic, social and environmental benefits for all stakeholders.

CSR is a concept with many definitions and practices. The way it is understood and implemented differs
greatly for each company and country. Moreover, CSR is a very broad concept that addresses many and
various topics such as human rights, corporate governance, health and safety, environmental effects, working
conditions and contribution to economic development. Whatever the definition is, the purpose of CSR is to
drive change towards sustainability.

Although some companies may achieve remarkable efforts with unique CSR initiatives, it is difficult to be on
the forefront on all aspects of CSR. Considering this, the example below provides good practices on one aspect
of CSR – environmental sustainability.


According to Section 135 of the 2013 Act, the provisions regarding CSR are applicable to the companies

1. Net worth of Rs 500 crore or more, or

2. Turnover of Rs 1000 crore or more, or

3. Net profit of Rs 5 crore or more during any financial year.

The companies falling within the above criteria are required to constitute a Corporate Social
Responsibility Committee of the Board comprising of three or more directors. At least one director
comprising the committee shall be an independent director.


According to the New Companies Act, Companies which fall within the above criteria are required to
spend at least 2% of their average net profit in the previous three years on CSR activities. Net profit for
this purpose would be the profit before tax as per the books of accounts, excluding profits arising from
branches outside India.


Earlier, the companies used to have the liberty to choose any are of their choice where they could spend
as CSR. But new Companies Act has specified some areas, which will be considered as CSR activities. It

1. Eradicating extreme hunger and poverty International Journal of Advanced Research and
Development 113
2. Promotion of education

3. Promoting gender equality and empowering women

4. Reducing child mortality and improving maternal health

5. Combating human immunodeficiency virus, acquired immune deficiency syndrome, malaria and
other diseases

6. Ensuring environmental sustainability

7. Employment enhancing vocational skills

8. Social business projects

CSR activities meant for company’s employees and their families will not qualify under CSR. The new
Companies Act also provides that the companies should give preference to the local area and the area
surrounding its operations.

Mahindra & Mahindra


Founded in 1945 as a steel trading company, Mahindra entered automotive manufacturing in

1947 with a license to bring the iconic Willis Jeep onto Indian roads. Over the years,
they have diversified into many new businesses in order to better meet the needs of its
customers. Mahindra follow a unique business model of creating empowered companies
that enjoy the best of entrepreneurial independence and Group-wide synergies. This
principle has led Mahindra’s growth into a US $16.2 billion multinational group with more
than 155,000 employees in over 100 countries across the globe. Today, its operations span
18 key industries that form the foundation of every modern economy: aerospace,
aftermarket, agribusiness, automotive, components, construction equipment, consulting
services, defense, energy, farm equipment, finance and insurance, industrial equipment,
information technology, leisure and hospitality, logistics, real estate, retail, and two wheelers.
Mahindra’s federated structure enables each business to chart its own future and
simultaneously leverage synergies across the entire Group’s competencies .Mahindra
group is united by a common purpose to enable people to Rise. They operate in the
key industries that drive economic growth, enjoying a leadership position in utility
vehicles, information technology, tractors, and vacation ownership. Mahindra have
a growing presence in the automotive industry, aerospace, aftermarket,
components, consulting services, defense, energy, financial services ,logistics,
real estate, retail, and two wheelers. A US $16.2 billion multinational group based in Mumbai
,India, we are more than 155,000 people in over 100 countries.

CSR Activities of Mahindra & Mahindra

Mahindra & Mahindra see their role as a major corporation both in India and in the world as an
incredible opportunity to lead businesses towards sustainability. Sustainability encompasses not
only the conservation of their environment, but also a responsibility to every stakeholder—not
only their shareholders, employees, and customers, but also the communities they impact and the
suppliers they stheirce from. By making every aspect of their business sustainable, from creating
fuel-efficient automobiles in green facilities to enctheiraging sustainable supply chain
management to reducing office footprints, they affirm their commitment to a better world.
Beyond conducting business consciously and responsibly, they support their communities
through many environmental and social initiatives. They build schools and support educational
programs for students of all ages. Their environmental initiatives include building greener
facilities and planting one million trees across India. When people in need require medical help,
they provide health and disaster relief. And they also embrace culture and sport through their
festivals and youth sports leagues. No matter what you need to rise, they are there to provide it.

The different sectors Mahindra & Mahindra conduct their CSR activities are as follows:

 Education

 Environment

 Health

 Culture

 Sports

 Mahindra Foundations

 Gateway House
 NGO Partners

 Employee Social Options

List of CSR activities

 MAHINDRA council in OF
management and
management and

(A project jointly managed by the K.C. Mahindra Education Trust and Naandi Foundation)


Project Nanhi Kali was initiated in 1996 by the K. C. Mahindra Education Trust (KCMET) with the aim of providing
primary education to underprivileged girl children in India.

Anand Mahindra, the current chairman of Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd., founded Project Nanhi Kali. with a strong belief
that educated women would not only contribute to the economy but also issues of population and social evils like the
dowry system and child marriage would reduce as more women are educated.

Studies conducted in developing countries have shown that this is true. Today, even the World Bank has
acknowledged that there is no investment more effective for achieving the millennium development goals than
educating girls. "According to the World Bank, some of the benefits associated with girls' education include
reduction of child and maternal mortality, improvement of child nutrition and health, lower fertility rates and
improvement in economic production".

Apart from the objective of impacting the nation's development through education of the girl child, Anand Mahindra
also wanted to encourage Indians to ’give back’ in a focused manner. Hence Project Nanhi Kali was designed as a
sponsorship support programme which allows individuals to participate and support the education of a girl child in

Partners In The Cause

Since 2005, Project Nanhi Kali is jointly managed by the K. C. Mahindra Education Trust and Naandi Foundation. .
The project provides academic, material and social support that allows a girl child to access quality education, attend
school with dignity and reduces the chances of her dropping out. Project Nanhi Kali is working with 19 NGO
implementation partners at the grassroot level to ensure that the Nanhi Kalis receive academic, material support and
social support. The K.C. Mahindra Education Trust regularly monitors the NGOs by giving technical inputs wherever
required to ensure that quality education is being imparted to all the Nanhi Kalis.

About K.C. Mahindra Education Trust

The K.C. Mahindra Education Trust (KCMET) was formed by the late Mr. K.C. Mahindra in 1953 with the
vision to “transform the lives of people in India through education, by providing financial assistance and
recognition to them, across age groups and income strata”. Since then, KCMET has undertaken a
number of education initiatives through which it has provided Rs.644.5 million approximately in the
form of grants, scholarships and loans to more than 82500 deserving and needy students. The Trust also
runs the Mahindra Pride Schools which provides livelihood training to youth from socially disadvantaged
sections of society specifically Schedule Castes and Schedule Tribes.

About Naandi Foundation

Naandi Foundation, with their primary goal of “Eradicating poverty, Changing lives” focuses on three
broad sectors – Child Rights, Safe Drinking Water and Sanitation and Sustainable Livelihoods. Naandi is
one of the largest and fastest growing social sector organisations in India working to make poverty

Project Nanhi Kali was incepted in 1996 with the objective of providing primary education to
underprivileged girl children in India. Today, it is a national sponsorship program which provides
academic and material support to more than 70,000 underprivileged girl children and helps them
complete 10 years of quality education with dignity. Our goal is to reach out to 500,000 underprivileged
girl children by 2014.

Statement of the Problem

India has 1/6th of the world's population and 1/3rd of the world's poor. The socio-economic
composition of children who drop out of school in India suggests that education deprivation occurs most
among urban poor, rural and tribal children and within each category the situation of girls is worse than
boys because of the perceived and actual costs to households of girls’ schooling. Under-educated
parents, particularly mothers, do not realize the importance of educating their children. This contributes
to factors that perpetuate the cycle of poverty, such as child labour, low wages, and job insecurity.

Through the Nanhi Kali project, we are addressing three of the eight Millennium Development Goals –
universal education, gender equality and empowering women and eradication of poverty. The World
Bank has recognized that investment in girl’s education is essential to meet the Millennium
Development Goals. According to UNICEF (2007) India accounts for 1/5th of the worlds out of school
girls and if this is not addressed the World will not be able to reach the Millennium Development Goals
to have every child complete primary school by 2015.

In India, Government schools provide “free” education but surveys have shown that ‘quality’ of
education is a big question mark.

ASER (Annual Status of Education Report) 2009 further reiterates that year after year, children remain at
least two grade levels behind through the primary stage. The proportion of children in standard 3 who
can read at standard 1 level is still less than 50%. Even with the high enrollment rates as per this report,
52.8% of children studying in grade V lack the reasoning skills expected in grade 2. An average of 25%
teachers are absent from school at any given point of time and half of those present are not teaching.

Literacy in India

Males Females No Education (aged 6 and above) 18% 41% Median years of schooling (aged 6 and
above) 5 years 2 years Source: 2005-2006 National Family Health Survey – 3 Males Females Literacy 82%
65% Source: Results from the Preliminary Data of Census, 2011
The recent 2011 census data has revealed that while the effective female literacy rate has improved
from 54% to 65%, it still lags behind the male literacy rate by 17%. What is extremely disturbing is the
abysmal child sex ratio which has fallen from 927:1000 (females: males) to 914:1000. The strong
preference for a son amongst Indians has resulted in a grave imbalance in the gender ratio, which is a
matter of utmost concern. Nanhi Kali can help correct this ratio, as education of girls is the first step
towards empowering them to become economically independent.

Beneficiaries of Nanhi Kali Project

Needy, underprivileged girls of urban poor, rural and tribal families enrolled in government schools
belonging to below poverty line schedule caste/schedule tribe (socially weaker sections) or migrant
communities who are generally first generation learners with younger siblings and of single parent are
selected as Nanhi Kalis.


The Nanhi Kali programme is implemented in some of the most deprived, remote, and difficult regions
of the country where the literacy levels, especially female literacy levels are low. Nanhi Kali works with
21 NGO Partners who at grassroots level provide the support to the girls, who are studying at the
Government Schools in India.


1. Amarjyoti Charitable Trust, New Delhi

2. Amarjyoti Charitable Trust, Gwalior
3. Ashraya, Bangalore
4. Aseema, Mumbai
5. Bal-Jeevan Trust, Mumbai
6. Bhagavatula Charitable Trust, Kakinada
7. Community Aid & Sponsorship Programme, Mumbai
8. Community Aid & Sponsorship Programme, New Delhi
9. Deepalaya, New Delhi Door Step School, Mumbai
10. Each One Teach One, Mumbai India Sponsorship Committee, Mumbai
11. Maharshi Sambamurthy Institute Of Social And Development Studies, Kakinada
12. Naandi Foundation, Hyderabad
13. National Sponsorship Council, Mumbai
14. Salaam Baalak Trust, Mumbai
15. Samparc, Pune Save The Children, Mumbai Sunbeam, Mumbai
16. Vidya - Integrated Development For Youth And Adults, New Delhi

Till date Project Nanhi Kali has educated over 3,10,000 underprivileged girls from 12 states across India.

At Project Nanhi Kali, we believe that this would not have been possible without the selfless and concerted support of
all the people and corporates who have sponsored our little Nanhi Kalis.

We take this opportunity to express our sincere gratitude to each and every sponsor and would also like to mention
our main corporate supporters.

1. Aker Solutions 27. FANUC India Pvt. Ltd. 61. Novartis

Healthcare Pvt.
2. Akshat Events 28. FedEx Trade Networks
Transport & Brokerage
3. Ambit Capital Private Limited 62. Ocean Sparkle
Pvt. Ltd.
4. AT & T
29. Forbes India
63. Pallonji & Co.
5. BA Continuum Solutions Pvt. Pvt. Ltd
30. Franklin Templeton
Asset Management
64. Prime Focus
6. Bestseller Fashion India Pvt. (India) Private Limited
Ltd. Pvt Ltd
31. Gartner
7. Bharat Forge 65. Qatar
32. GlaxoSmithKline
Pharmaceuticals Ltd. Foundation
8. BlackRock

9. Blue Cross Laboratories Ltd. 33. Gemfields 66. Saint Gobain

10. Bristlecone India Ltd. 34. Globus Foundation

11. Capgemini Aspire 35. Gujarat Reclaim & 67. SanDisk India
Rubber Products Ltd. Device Design
12. Capgemini Australia PTY Ltd
36. HDFC Bank Ltd. Centre Pvt.
13. Capgemini Consulting India Ltd.
Pvt Ltd. 37. Hindustan Colas Private
Limited 68. SBI Life
14. Capgemini, Deutschland Insurance
38. Hindustan Petroleum
15. Capgemini Finland Corporation Ltd 69. Srithai
16. Capgemini, Norway 39. Housecalls India Private
17. Capgemini The Netherlands Limited
40. Housing Development
18. Capgemini, Paris Finance Corporation Ltd. 70. Standard
Charted Bank
19. Capgemini, Sweden 41. Indian Oil Corporation
Ltd. 71. Star India
20. Capgemini, UK PLC Pvt.Ltd.
42. Indiawin Sports Private
21. Cox & Kings Foundation Limited 72. Strawberry
22. Credit Suisse Securities (India) 43. J M Financial
Private Limited. Consultants Pvt. Ltd. 73. Sub-Chemie
India Pvt. Ltd.
23. Dialog (India) Services Pvt. 44. Johnson & Johnson Ltd.
Ltd. 45. Johnson & Johnson 74. Tata AIG
Medical Asia Pacific General
24. Dun & Bradstreet
46. Jones Lang LaSalle
25. Eclerx Services Ltd. Company Ltd.
47. KLT Automotive &
26. Essel World & Water Kingdom 75. Tech Mahindra
Tubular Products Ltd.
48. Knight Frank India Pvt
76. The Hershey
49. Mahindra & Mahindra
77. Thomas Cook
Financial Services Ltd.
India Ltd.
50. Mahindra & Mahindra
78. Titan Company
Holidays & Resorts Pvt.
79. Turner General
51. Mahindra & Mahindra
Networks India
52. Mahindra & Mahindra Pvt. Ltd
Workers Union
80. Turner
53. Mahindra Composites International (I)
Ltd Pvt. Ltd

54. Mahindra Retail – Mom 81. United

& Me Technologies
55. Mattel India Pvt Ltd
56. Microsoft India (R&D) 82. USV Ltd.
Pvt. Ltd.
83. Verve
57. Microsoft MGSI
84. VFS Global
58. Motherson Sumi
Systems Ltd. 85. Whappi
59. Naandi Norway Pvt. Ltd
60. Nvidia Graphics 86. Wipro GE
Healthcare Pvt.

87. WILO

88. Worley

89. Yes Bank


 Support provided by Nanhi Kali

The Nanhi Kali Project encourages girls to attend school by ensuring their holistic development through
provision of material support in addition to academic support.

a) Academic Support The Academic Support is provided in terms of an extra study class which is
conducted either before or after school hours. These classes help to bridge the gaps in learning
achievements and enable children to reach their grade specific competency level. The classes are
conducted by “Community Activists” selected from within the community with the vision that they
would be the local resource to act as friends and mentors to the children and at the same time stroking
community interest and proactive action for quality education. The teaching strategy is based on
cooperative and reflective learning where the focus is on enabling learning rather than on teaching.

The Academic Support Classes assume greater significance since living conditions and contexts of poor
children do not give them the luxury of space and time at home to study, revise and practice. The Nanhi
Kalis are usually first generation learners and have no one at home whom they can turn to in case they
need clarification in any subject.

b) Material Support

Material support consists of an education kit comprising of two sets of uniforms, undergarments, shoes,
socks, school bag, stationery and notebooks which is ceremonially handed over to every individual
Nanhi Kali at a colorful function. The function is attended by the parents and the larger community and
cuts across all barriers of caste, creed, age and gender. It also serves as a platform to sensitize the
community on the importance of girl’s education. A report prepared for Plan International, New Delhi by
Educational Resource Unit in 2006 indicates that there are hidden costs associated with education that
rise as the child progresses up the educational ladder. Very often it is these hidden costs which result in
a girl dropping out of school. The material support provided by the Nanhi Kali Project directly is designed
to address the hidden costs of education that affects a girl’s chances of education.

c) Social and Moral Support

Sensitizing the community on the importance of girls’ education and encouraging it to take ownership of
the functioning of the school is an essential part of the Nanhi Kali programme. Events are oganised
wherein the community members, especially women, participate actively. These serve as platforms to
change mind-sets and attitudes


Project Nanhi Kali is an academic support programme for girls from the age of 5-15 years or till they’ve completed
class 10. Over the years, the NanhiKalis who would pass out of school told us that they still required support by way
of guidance for further studies, careers, life skills, and overall to navigate through their years of adolescence. We
delved on this feedback and conducted a study by third party experts. This helped us come to the conclusion that
supporting a girl till she is 15 is simply not enough. In fact, when we thought about it, age 16-21 years is probably one
of the most crucial and difficult phase of a girl’s life. At this juncture, girls dream bigger and seek to find ways to
realise these dreams.

That’s why, we decided to start Nanhi Kali Adolescent Centre which would focus on this age group and nurture and
support girls during this critical phase of their life. The goal of these centres is to facilitate intellectual and socio-
emotional development of girls. We aim to support adolescent girls to thrive and succeed through awareness and
focused efforts. As a result, they will be equipped to make more informed and independent life choices to contribute
fully to the family, the economy and society.

The Nanhi Kali Adolescent Centre imparts life skills education through a methodology that intelligently and sensitively
uses art, drama, cinema, philosophy and literature. With the help of projects and roleplay, girls learn how to logically
define and analyse situations in terms of actions and their consequences, and to hone the ability to find solutions to
the challenges and problems they face.
Every centre includes components of training in English, computer skills and digital literacy, financial literacy, health
and nutritional awareness, physical fitness and self-defense. These centres are safe, informal and unstructured
spaces with a focus on helping girls develop confidence and interpersonal development.

The Adolescent Centre Programme currently has over 84 centres spread across Hyderabad, Mumbai, Chakan,
Gurgaon, Vizag, Araku Valley and Krishnagiri. Through this programme, we aim to impact 100,000 young women in
different parts of India over the next 5 years empowering them to become employable and economically independent.


This campaign by HDFC Bank sought to garner support for Project Nanhi Kali through their “Personal
Loan for a Woman Customer” initiative. Under this initiative, HDFC Bank donated ` 100 for every
application for personal loans made by a woman customer. This endeavour succeeded in spreading
awareness of Project Nanhi Kali and girl child education, and brought in commitments to support 1,600
girls. Thank you, HDFC Bank!


The Titan Kanya initiative was ocially launched on 16th December, 2013 in the Krishnagiri district of
Tamil Nadu. Through this intervention, Titan Industries, in association with Project Nanhi Kali, reached
out to over 3,500 underprivileged girls predominantly belonging to tribal families across 70 schools in
the Kelamangalam and Thally blocks of Krishnagiri district. This took the Titan Kanya - Nanhi Kali project
outreach to over 7,000 Nanhi Kalis across our various project areas. Thank you, Titan Industries!


In November 2013, Project Nanhi Kali launched “Put a Face on a Book - Gift a Nanhi Kali
Sponsorship” campaign. The philosophy behind it was that, when you educate a girl child, she begins
to write her own success story. Every day is a new page and every year is a new chapter in her book
of life. So, when a sponsor gifts a friend or loved one a Project Nanhi Kali sponsorship, the Nanhi Kali
gets her face printed on a virtual book cover, symbolizing the beginning of an autobiography of
achievements. This campaign was further shared on Facebook and Twitter to spread the word and
garner momentum.

 Running for the Girl Child

The enthusiasm and tremendous energy at the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon (ADHM), TCS World 10K,
Bangalore and the Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon (SCMM) not only helped promote a healthy
lifestyle, but also helped raise awareness about key issues faced in society. These events provided an
opportunity for runners/walkers, to actively make a dierence by supporting a cause, and raising funds
for organizations that worked to ameliorate these social challenges.

Project Nanhi Kali has always been an active participant in these events. Continuing in the tradition, our
supporters took to the tracks on 15th December 2013, 19th May 2013 and 19th January 2014,
respectively. The first two events saw the support of corporate challenge teams such as Capgemini, Tech
Mahindra, Tetra Pak, and HSBC and over 100 individuals who ran for Project Nanhi Kali and the cause of
girl child education

Project Nanhi Kali was again one of the chosen charities at the DNA iCan Women’s Half Marathon in
Mumbai. Over 100 Nanhi Kalis received education due to the renewed support.
 Project Blossoming by Gemfields:

In June 2014, the world renowned multinational natural resources company, Gemfields partnered with
10 exceptional jewellers and hosted a star studded evening in support of Project Nanhi Kali. ‘Project
Blossoming Collection’, an exclusive compilation of the 10 jewellers featuring Gemfields’ Zambian
emeralds and Mozambican rubies were displayed at the event. These fine pieces were then auctioned
by Christies at an exclusive event in Mumbai on 7th June 2014. The event was attended by esteemed
guests such as, Project Blossoming Ambassador Chitrangada Singh, Julien Vincent Brunie of Christie’s,
Ian Harebottle, CEO of Gemfields, Tisca Chopra, Preeti Jhangiani, Parvin Dabas, Aditya Hitkari and Divya
Palat, Nisha Jamwal, Rouble Nagi, Pria Kataria Puri and Naazneen Bedi. Project Blossoming by Gemfields:
Over 2,500 girls now enjoy the sparkling privilege of education through funds raised.

 100,000 Nanhi Kalis celebrate Teacher’s Day

There is not greater dedication than that of a student to her teacher. On 5th September 2014,
celebrated as Teacher’s Day in India, Project Nanhi Kali launched a short film about our little girls sharing
why their teachers are their closest and most loved friends. This heartfelt and compelling film reached
out to the masses as a dedication to teachers and the integral part they play in our education and our
lives. 1
Impact of the Programme

1. Reach
We are currently providing educational support, both academic and material, to approximately 70,000
in nine states in India, namely Andhra Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Delhi, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh,
Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Rajasthan.

2.. Reduction in Drop-out rates of girls

Drop out rates of girls, which, at the national level is almost 30 per cent for Primary and 70 per cent for
Secondary School, has successfully been curtailed to less than 10 per cent within the Nanhi Kali

3. Overcoming the practice of child marriage

Considering the prevailing trend of early marriage and limiting rest of their life to household chores,
passing middle school seems to have removed this social binding and opened a larger hope for the
community. While it was difficult to stop child marriage in early days now the children who passed
middle & high school have become instrumental in convincing the parents that education should come
first and then marriage. In the recent tracking we found that 724 out of 913 10th pass Nanhi Kalis (from
Sheopur, Hyderabad, Mahabubnagar & Arakku) are pursuing further education. Some are into Degree,
Polytechnic, Vocational courses and Engineering. Among those who discontinued education, some are
self employed (like tailoring, vegetable vending & small shop) and few have married and/or migrated.

4. Increase in attendance & performance of Nanhi Kalis

Through constant monitoring and follow-up the Nanhi Kali team is able to maintain 78% average
attendance of Nanhi Kalis in school which has a direct impact in the academic performance of the child.
There is a steady growth in the academic performance of the children across years. In the year 2008-
2009 State Board examination for grade V in Chhattisgarh, three Nanhi Kalis secured a rank in the top 10
positions. In the year 2009-2010, 27 Nanhi Kalis secured more than 91% in the same board examination.

How Can You Help?

Project Nanhi Kali is a participatory project where you can sponsor the education of an underprivileged girl child. You
can sponsor a Nanhi Kali from primary school studying in class 1-5 at just Rs. 3600 a year, while for Rs. 4800 you
can sponsor a Nanhi Kali from secondary school studying in class 6-10. Thereafter, in the first year you will receive
the photograph, profile and progress report of the Nanhi Kali you support, so you are updated on how she is faring in
both academics as well as extracurricular activities.
What makes Mahindra’s Nanhi Kali program so successful?

Women hold up half the sky, so goes a popular Chinese saying. If that is indeed true, the sky in
India is surely tilted. For across a range of human development indicators,from life expectancy to
literacy to income, women have consistently fallen behind men – and continue to do so. While the
root of this problem is a society that sways to traditional mores in preferring boys over girls, the
social and economic consequences for the countryhave been enormous. Today, even the World
Bank warns that there is a price to pay for countries that under-invest in their girls.

For Anand Mahindra, chairman of Mahindra &Mahindra, it was precisely this realization that
motivated him to found Nanhi Kali over 15 years ago. Aimed at girls from low-income families, the
Nanhi Kali programme offerscomprehensive sponsorship, comprising both academic and material
support. While academic support includes after-school training and mentoring from professional
coordinators to bridge gaps in learning, material support includes school uniform, bags, shoes and
socks, which are necessary for any student to attend school with dignity. In addition, the programme
team works with parents and community members to sensitize them on matters of gender equality.

Today, Nanhi Kali stands out in India’s Corporate Social Responsibility landscape as an
extraordinary success story by any measure:

 It currently supports more than 75,000 girl students from low-income families in both urban and rural
areas – many girls, who could barely pass their exams before, now feature regularly in the merit list of
their district examinations
 It reaches a vast geographical area spanning 10 states in India, including some of the biggest and
economically-backward ones such as Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan
 And it reports a drop-out rate less than 10% in its project areas, and an increase in learning level by
more than 20%

For any CSR manager in corporate India, these results are nothing short of impressive. But behind
the numbers, do they hold any lessons for CSR managers in how they build and manage their own
organization’s initiatives? Are there specific strategies and organizational changes the CSR team at
Mahindra engineered that onecould learn from? To find out, we spoke to Sheetal Mehta, the
Executive Director of the KC Mahindra Educational Trust, the CSR arm of the Mahindra & Mahindra
group that runs the Nanhi Kali programme. And from what we learnt, there are at least four broad
principles that any organization will find helpful to emulate.
Integration, Integration, Integration

Today, for any company that has reached a certain plateau of success, CSR is a priority.As the
company grows, so do the number and scale of its CSR initiatives. But oftentimes, these initiatives
are simply not integrated into the workforce. They are run by isolated teams withlimited engagement
and support from both the management and employees.

In 2005, when Ms Mehta moved into Mahindra’s CSR team, one of the first things she did was to
make a case for a consolidated and coordinated approach towardsrunningthe group’s CSR
initiatives. The management, in response, threw its weight behind Ms Mehta, setting upa CSR
Council that brought under its purview the entire gamut of Mahindra’s CSR programmes and
activities. The Councilcomprised not only CSR figureheads and representatives, but leaders of the
group’s various business units. To lead the Council, the President of Mahindra’s Human Resources
came on board. These structural changes sent a clear signal to everyone at Mahindra that every
business, every team and every employee now had a stake in the success of the company’s CSR

To focus and target Mahindra’s initiatives better, the Council identified three focus areas where the
group could make the maximum impact: Education, which the Mahindra has supported for long,and
Health and Environment, where its businesses already had clear underlying strengths. It decided
that every company in the Mahindra group will allocate 1% of post-tax profits to their CSR
programmes, of which0.5% will be allocated toEducation, thereby squarely putting the Nanhi Kali
programme under the spotlight. But the Council was also careful to not mistake integration and
focus for rigidity. It allowed individual companies to use the remaining 0.5% of their profits on any of
the other focus areas, while it monitored implementation and impact.

Leading from the Front

If there is one factor that binds all companies that are successful in their CSR initiatives, it is that
they all have their top management rallying at the front to ensure employee participation at the
highest levels. Mahindra, however, took it further. The group’s leaders, including Mr Mahindra
himself, all invested their personal credibility, time and effort to ensure not just employee
participation, but also that of the company’s partners, competitors(!) and the wider community.In
fact, as we saw earlier, Nanhi Kali was borne of the personal commitment of Mr Mahindra himself
towards the cause of Girl Child Education.

In addition, as we saw with the example of the CSR Council, the group’s leaders invested significant
portions of their time to shape and direct the group’s CSR strategy, monitor implementation, and
measure impact.

Reaching Out to Maximize Impact

When Mr Mahindra ventured to found Nanhi Kali, he was clear he didn’t want the programme to be
limited by his or his group’s ability to support it. He wanted to engage as many supporters and
donors as possible. This enabled Ms Mehta’s team to reach out to an array of supporters, starting
with the group’s employees to non-profit partners to other individual and corporate donors.

Their efforts seem to have paid off rather well. Today, of the 75,000 girls the Nanhi Kali programme
supports, more than 1/3rd are supported by employees of the Mahindra group. And the remaining
2/3 through the support of over 8,000 individual and corporate donors, counting some of the biggest
names in the Industry, including HDFC, HPCL, and Johnson & Johnson.

Interestingly, Nanhi Kali’s success also convinced some of Mahindra’sfiercest competitors to partner
on this venture. Capgemini, a competitor of Tech Mahindra, has nearly 8 of its international offices
supporting the programme. In fact, Capgemini’s support covers nearly 10,000 of our girls, reveals
Ms Mehta.

But is it only Nanhi Kali’s success that has drawn such wide participation? Not really, she says. The
fact that the Mahindra group put together considerable resources of its own and its credibility behind
the programme convinced a large number of partners to not just join but also to progressively ramp
up their investments, she explains.

Finding the Right Implementation Partner

In early 2000’s, when the KC Mahindra Education Trust was scouting for implementation partners
for Nanhi Kali, its key challenge was in finding an organization that had the scale and reach to
support tens of thousands of girls across the country. Most organizations the Trust found operated
in two or three schools at most.

It was around this time that the Trust met and partnered with the Naandi Foundation, a non-profit
organization based in Hyderabad. The Naandi Foundation had already developed a proven model of
supporting Girl Child Education, and was operating at scale across Andhra Pradesh and Madhya
Pradesh. The partnership proved so effective that only a year later, the Foundation was brought on
board as a joint managing partner. By rapidly scaling the number of girls under Nanhi Kali’s
support,and quickly exceeding all initial targets, the Foundation proved especially integral to the
success of the programme. Today, the Naandi Foundation alone is responsible for delivering
academic and material support to nearly 71,000 girls, reveals Ms Mehta.

For Mahindra, the partnership with the Naandi Foundation has also borne fruit elsewhere. It has now
expanded beyond Nanhi Kali to several other CSR initiatives of the Mahindra group, including


In summary,the success of the Nanhi Kali programme is a combination of several dominating

factors. It’s clear that an organization-wide focus on a particular cause can harness the collective
energy and resources of a much larger number of people than is possible through individual teams
or groups. Choosing a right partner is especially vital in scaling and sustaining the programme.
Finally, leaders who provide both strategic support and creative imagination will ultimately prove
decisive in rallying the entire organization and the wider community in to supporting the cause.
Clearly, with all these on board, will it be any wonder when Mahindra & Mahindra reaches its 2012
goal of supporting 100,000 Nanhi Kalis!


Even though companies are taking serious efforts for the sustained development,
somec r i t i c s s t i l l a r e q u e s t i o n i n g t h e c o n c e p t o f C S R . T h e r e a r e p e o p l e
w h o c l a i m t h a t Corporate Social Responsibility underlies some hidden motives while others
consider itas a myth. Is CSR really a stalking horse for an anti-corporate agenda? The reality is thatCSR
is not a tactic for brand building. Indulging into activities that help society in oneway or
the other only adds to the goodwill of a company. Rural people can become av i a b l e
market for the corporate with a developmental approach of social
m a r k e t i n g . Organisations can launch social responsibility initiatives in order to build
brands in therural areas. The social responsibility initiatives are far more effective in building brandsin
rural market than the commercial advertisements.With increasing and widespread commitment of
corporate resources to CSR, attention
isn o w s h i f t i n g t o t h e s t r a t e g i c f o r m u l a t i o n , i m p l e m e n t a t i o n , a n d m e a s u r e m e n t o
f t h e market returns to CSR initiatives. But still a concern to companies is whether their focuson “doing
good,” will provide positive returns to their CSR actions. This emphsize theneed for better
measurement models of CSR that capture and estimate clearly the effectsof a company’s CSR actions on
its stakeholders as well as the nations in which they areoperating. The developing economy like India is
progressing at a growth which is muchhigher to its social growth. It is increasing the gap between the
different strata of societyin the country in terms of employment, human development, capital
distribution and poverty. Public sectors companies and government are continuously introducing
reformsto achieve the balance but it seems that it is not sufficient to bring revolutionary changesin
the social progress. So there is urgent need that all stakeholders in national
economicdevelopment put synergistic effort to create a impact. This balancing has to be achievedor
growth has to be stabilized in respect to social growth else the divergence betweent h e m
will cross a threshold and after that a downfall will come which will lead to
a stagnancies in growth.59

CSR is about common sense policies that represent a means of integrating a

complete‘social perspective’ into all aspects of operations. The goal is to maximize true value
and benefit for an organization, while protecting the huge investments corporations
maketoday in their brands. CSR asks companies to ensure their business operations
are cleanand equitable, and contribute positively to the society in which they are based. Otherwise,they
leave themselves open to too much danger from a potential consumer backlash.CSR is good business
sense, and a total approach to doing business, in a globalizingworld where companies are
increasingly relying on brand strength (particularly
globall i f e s t y l e b r a n d s ) t o a d d v a l u e a n d p r o d u c t d i f f e r e n t i a t i o n , a n d w h e r e N G O
- d r i v e n consumer activism is increasing.Many believe the issue of how corporations integrate CSR into
everyday operations andlongterm strategic planning will define the business marketplace in the near
future. It will become a key point of brand differentiation, both in terms of corporate entities
and the products that carry their brands.Key steps on the road to integrating CSR within all aspects of
operations include:

Ensure the commitment of top management, and particularly the CEO,
i s communicated throughout the organization

Appoint a CSR position at the strategic decision-making level to manage
t h e development of policy and its implementation

Develop relationships with all stakeholder groups and interests (particular relevant NGOs)

Incorporate a Social or CSR Audit within the company’s annual report