Nitish Sengupt

Nitish Sengupt

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Nitish Sengupta is a combination of an academician, administrator and politician.Educated at Presidency College, Calcutta, and Calcutta University, he passed B. A (Hons) and M. A examinations in Ist class and was gold medallist in M. A. He got his Ph.D in Management from Delhi University in 1972. He also did a post-graduate programme in Public Administration from the University of Manchester as a British Council scholar in 1962-63. He joined the I. A. S in 1957 and had a distinguished career as a civil servant. He hold many distinct position such as Revenue Secretary, GOI; Member-Secretary, Planning Commission; Joint Secretary, Economic Affairs and Director General Tourism.

          He is a versatile author. He won the best book award in Management from Delhi Management Association. His books include: Unshackling of Indian Industry, Changing Patterns of Corporate Management, Government and Business, India’s International Trade since Independence, History of Bengali Speaking People, Strategic management-Vision of the Future. My Times: A Civil Servant Remembers. Bengal Divided: Unmaking of a Nation. Biography of Dr. B. C. Roy and Land ofTwo Rivers : History of Bengal From Mahabharata to Mujib. Has authored innumerable research articles and monographs. He has also been Chairman, Management Development Institute and Director General, Indian Management Institute, New Delhi.

          He joined politics in 1996 and was elected as M.P to the 13th Lok Sabha (1999-2004). Currently he is Chairman, Board for Reconstruction of Public Sector Enterprises.

 Dr. Nitish Sengupta replies:

Indian Public Sector has stood strong during the testing times amid the worldwide fiscal meltdown in the 2008, and the tsunamis in the recent past.Unlike Indian private sector industries, which are always pampered by the social media but which always showed weaknesses in the face of adverse situations, the PSUs sustained Indian economy as a solid rock against all oddities.

Dr. Nitish Sengupta, Chairman, Board for Reconstruction of Public Sector Enterprises (equivalent to Minister of State, GoI). He is also a Member of the Second Pay Revision Committee of Public Enterprises and Member of the Expert Committee for Selecting Independent Directors for Navratna Public Sector Enterprises. Dr. Sengupta is a combination of an academician, administrator and politician

Dr. Sengupta speaks to Ranjan Mohapatra on the concerns about the CSR status in CPSEs as mentioned in the CAG report. Excerpts :

 How do you respond to the CAGReport on less than 50% of the IndianCPSEscomplywith the CSR Guidelines issued by the DPE ?

Apparently, the CPSEs seem to bedoing good work. However, thephilosophy behind CSR has not yet sunk inthese CPSES.CSR guideline needs to beimplemented. It is necessary that we generate awareness among the CPSEs about the philosophy behind the Guidelines. We need to take prolonged nationwide arduous endeavours to get the idea entrenched in the CPSEs’ work culture.

Don’t you think most of the CMDstake it merely as an ad hoc charity?

They are not much to be blamed. See the CSR has always beenpractised in the country asan adhoc charity or one-time benevolent service to the community.The current move is much more important to make this service broader, entwined into meeting the social necessities so that the societies stand by the business and development projects. The CPSEs have to understand that the CSR is a very important activity to benefit business. It should be treated as a regular activity like any other business activity, strategically integrated with other activities of the company. We agree that CSR induced in the business practices eventually benefits businesses.

The CSR Bill is coming. This would induceprivate business to get involved in CSR . What, according to you, should be their priority activity area for CSR ?

They should focus on promoting literacy, health, nutrition and poverty alleviation. Nutrition is the biggest casualty inmodern India. The Government is concerned about it. The private companies can do very well in ensuring nutrition to children in the areas they operate. They can even join hands with the Central and the governments under PPPs to take the food security and nutrition security forward. If there is a will there are the ways always.

 

Wehave made CSR mandatory for CPSEs – Public Sector.What aboutthe CSR status in theprivate companies?

Someprivate companies, say the Tatas, are doing very good CSR integrated into their businesses. Strong ethics play a great role in successful implementation of CSR integration inbusiness practices. We have seen that a goodnumber of hospitals have been built by many private sector groups. However, this area must be looked after by theChambers ofCommerce in every state to ensure that the ensuing CSR Act is well implemented in the country. They shouldmotivate their member companies to engage in businesses integrated withCSRs

 

Dr. Nitish Sengupta can bereached at: nitish.sengupta@gmail.com