The National Skills Development Corporation (NSDC), under the aegis of the skills development and entrepreneurship ministry, will soon list some of its outcome-based projects on the Social Stock Exchange to attract social investors, both domestic and from overseas, said its chief executive Ved Mani Tiwari.
The move is aimed at creating an alternative funding mechanism for its skilling initiatives, which are currently being funded either through grants or through corporate social responsibility and philanthropists. Funding is currently input-based and limited in nature.
“The idea is to leverage private sector capital and expertise in socially viable projects which will focus on outcomes like job placement and retention for India’s youth instead of the current practice of funding inputs like training and certification,” Tiwari told ET. Globally, there is no dearth of socially responsible organisations that are eyeing social returns on their investments, he said, adding, “These need not be grand projects but will be financially and socially responsible initiatives.” The global ESG (environmental, social and governance) market is a $100 billion opportunity, according to Tiwari, and India can become a strong ESG market over the next five years if it develops a strong reporting mechanism while listing projects in a transparent manner. The NSDC, in association with the Social Stock Exchange, has kick-started work on identifying socially viable projects that could be listed to attract investments while putting in place a robust reporting mechanism to attract best investors to fund India’s social initiatives in a big way.
To begin with, it plans to list its renewable energy project for powering of public health centres in remote areas and its project on assistive technology along with requisite skills on the exchange.
Besides, it plans to initiate discussions with the likes of the Reliance Foundation, Adani Foundation and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation which are eyeing social impact coupled with financial returns on their investments.