Interview of N. P Singh District Magistrate, Gautam Budh Nagar, Noida

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Nagendra Pratap Singh, District Magistrate of NOIDA – Gautam Budh Nagar, is an  IAS officer with all the desirable qualities, rare in current times including passion for influencing lives of common man. He is playing an active role in identifying genuine development needs of the people in the district, based on his deep understanding of development dynamics  and connecting them to the willing CSR eligible companies, benefiting both ends. Beyond this, he has been spending his own money for educating poor & talented students. He is also involve in setting of ITIs in naxalite areas to help diffuse the cause of naxal movement, using funds from his own sources. Such development activists in IAS cadre, is a dream come true. Such District Magistrates are assets for CSR movement in India who help in actualizing the potential of CSR.  CSR VISION wishes him all the very best in coming times.
QHow easy or difficult is the job of a District Magistrate in a district like Gautam Budh Nagar, being a part of NCR in specific reference to commercial and criminal linkages of politician?
AIf your working is transparent and people know that the officer concerned is law abiding and he doesn’t listen to any unlawful recommendation then the people never bothers you. There won’t be any problem if your own set of values are cleared and transparent.

Q.How do you access the level of responsible conduct of public and do you have a system for monitoring responsible 4117_5conduct?
A.In a democracy, definitely the law of the land itself promotes perfect mechanism to monitor people’s behavior. As a District Magistrate you try to implement, enforce the legal frame work to monitor people’s behavior, but there is always a conflict between legal ethics and moral ethics. The youth, villages, industrialists, people of every segment of the society sometimes needs counseling to have their behavioral graph resonating with the law requirement. So we organize different kind of seminars in the institutions, universities, colleges, in the different  industrial groups, so that we can modulate their behavior and make them disciplined.  Apart from the traditional functioning of the District Magistrate we try to do these kinds of methodologies. 

Q.Do you believe a Magistrate can play any role in influencing the conduct of public with specific reference to traffic, spitting on road, throwing garbage in public places, urinating in public etc.
A.These are the basic terms of civil behavior. Interestingly traffic management needs three major components: education, engineering, & enforcement. Citizens are to be educated about the negative impact and outcome of the traffic mess and the kind of responsibility they have to do regarding the traffic management. If each individual is not properly educated then enforcement and engineering will fail in the traffic management. That’s why we continuously organize workshops in the colleges, organizations, even workshops for auto-rickshaw, drivers (both commercial and personal). So drivers should know the kind of commitment towards the spirit of the traffic management and the laws of the traffic management. It is a continuous process and will take time for better result.

Q.Generally a District Magistrate has a major challenge in managing the politicians? What has been your experience in dealing with them? 
A.“If you salute your duty, you do not salute anybody but if you pollute your duty you have to salute everybody”. When two persons meet definitely one will use other. It’s a part of the social chemistry. Energy of District Magistrate should be constructive & positive. If any other energy will interact with yours, which has to be synchronized in constructive direction and similar happens with the politicians also. Politicians are human beings. Everybody has some positive and negatives qualities. Politicians are the public representative, whenever you interact, if you convince them about their public goal in the rightful way and if he is convinced that you are not polluting his duty then definitely he will not pollute yours. The word I always hate is ‘managing politician’, ‘managing people’. The word managing is very defective because you can’t manage anybody. You do your duty, others will be doing theirs.

Q.How do you perceive the mandatory CSR law in terms of its potential for supplementing and complimenting the role of a District Magistrate?
A.Very important! In our constitution (apart from articles and laws) two chapters are very important one is Fundamental Rights and another is Directive Principles Of The State Policy. State always tries to fulfill the goal embedded in the Directive Principle Of The State Policy but there is always a critical gap between the government budgetary provisions, pronounced schemes and actual need of the people. The need of the people is ever dynamic & ever changing. Then to fill that critical gap this Corporate Social Responsibility has very important and vital role. In any district, irrespective of any domain; education, health, women empowerment, employment generation etc you always need the supports of the industrialists and corporates. In this era of economic growth no country or society will sustain if it doesn’t have the adequate energy to balance with the changing scenario of the global trade and the global economic growth. It also applies to my district. Those critical gaps can only be filled with the support of the CSR activities or funds.

Q.What has been your experience in actualizing the potential of mandatory CSR in your district?p2
A.The year when I joined as District Magistrate of Gautam Budh Nagar I found many companies were working out of the CSR funds in different development activities of the  district. Actually the efforts were not properly implemented or monitored. If the CSR fund is used as charity, I feel it’s useless. The CSR must be utilized in the direction of empowerment. I talked to all big companies and urged them to do CSR in a systematic and strategic way. For example, in the field of education : I motivated 15-20 corporates to work in the field of education and requested them that I will do the data survey with the support of their CSR people. If any school need any hard infrastructure (toilets, buildings, electrification, furniture) or soft infrastructure (like computers, teacher’s training) will be given through CSR. After identifying their need I distribute the works between the corporates. Few were engaged in the soft infrastructure development and few were in hard infrastructure. This project was conducted in 210 primary schools and companies like NTPC, Samsung, LG, CC plus, HCL etc were roped for the CSR funds. This strategy was implemented to bring a change in one particular domain under my guidance. 

Q.Your passion for making an impact on the ground is extraordinary including setting of ITI’s and sponsoring education of talented and poor students from your own money. What are the causes of this extraordinary commitment for social welfare?
A.Every individual has to do some individual social responsibility also. Why only CSR, why not ISR (Individual Social Responsibility)? And if you are empowered through your parental properties and through your own abilities- you are responsible to give back to the society. One individual cannot achieve   anything without the support of the society. It means you have to pay the debt of the society. The feeling for doing something for the society was the core fundamental characteristic which motivated me since my student life. To make other’s lives a little happier ideologically, and spiritually. I feel if you have capacity you must share with others who are in need. I tried to promote youths who are potential enough to contribute to the society through qualitative learning but they are deprived because of their economic factors. Many youths are being victimized with the terror of naxalism. So i thought why can’t they be constructively engaged, then I started doing little things in that direction. Firstly empowering them through professional skilling. The  thought of  establishing one ITI  came to my mind, where we can  trained more than 100 students  per year  in a regular two years of professional course recognized by Government of India and then promote them to be employed with the support of the different companies. With this thought an ITI was established in the Mirzapur district of Uttar Pardesh. I didn’t take support of any corporate but now gradually many companies like Maruti Group have started contacting me to join hands. I’m thinking to join hand with Maruti to expand these kinds of facilities in other areas also. The only motto is to involve more and more youth and also to save them from negatively, ideologically poisoned people.

Q.Do you think there are any large projects which can be implemented with the support of CSR making long term impact on the districts which is not provision for, through government schemes?
p1A.Yes, I feel in NCR major two / three projects which are not sufficiently provisioned financially.  Though the government is trying in that direction.  Firstly, in the domain of  the women empowerment. I tried in this direction also  to skilled  about 20,000 girls in karate  for two months of training with the philosophy of ‘each girl teach ten’ which was very successful in last year. Secondly, there are primary education sector which is the future architect of the country. If you want your country in a better stronger way we have to improve our primary education system. In primary education there are many critical gaps. It needs soft infrastructure with lots of financial provisions. In Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan I don’t think the government is able to fulfill all the required need. The corporate should adopt certain primary schools and enrich with all kind of facilities which a school actually need: like library, creative art facility, teacher counseling etc. The government distributes uniforms to the children but not sweaters, shoes etc. They distributes books but not bags. I have tried selecting those children’s who don’t have shoes, bags and sweaters. The companies were asked to adopt a school and invest in each field of hard and soft infrastructure. Thirdly, lots can be done in the health sector. 75% of population in my district cannot afford the private hospital expenditure. They depend on the government hospitals and there is only one hospital which has all pathological facilities. The pathological facility in decentralized way were created in another six community care centre with the support of companies’ like Samsung, NTPC, LG, CC Plus etc. Now the villages are getting pathology at their nearby place. I’m trying in a direction that one good corporate should adopt one hospital or school or a village for an overall development of a district.

Q.Anything you like to share with the readers of CSR VISION.
A.The only thing I want to request to all the shareholders is to properly use their CSR funds. They should not feel that it has been legally mandatory that’s why they are doing it. They should do it with a very positive perception with happiness. It has been an opportunity for the companies to do something positive because the company is earning money and it’s not only the funds of the CEO and the MD’s. The whole social environment and the natural environment provide platforms and support for the earning of the company. There is also a trend of companies spending their CSR funds within their own comfort zone or only in their operational areas. They don’t want to go to the remotest part of the country. They should shift their operational area from the metros to the remotest villages of India. The NGO’s were closely connected with the CSR funds with the corporate .They should also think beyond a settled area. If their head quarter is in Delhi it doesn’t mean they can’t go to Chattisgarh, Narayanpur and Dhantewada. Their operational area should be the actually needed area. u


About the author

CSR VISION is India’s ( probably world’s ) first monthly magazine in print devoted to CSR and Sustainable Development for bringing together all stakeholders of SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT at a global and local levels and act as a platform for promoting strategic CSR and sustainable development practices through dissemination of information and knowledge.