Deadline: 2018-06-04 Posted On: 2018-05-30 06:10:38 , By Admin

The democracy of India rests on three constitutional estates - legislative, bureaucracy and judiciary. The free press or media has long been recognized as the fourth. The contribution of NGOs towards nation building is immense. HCL defines it as the Fifth Estate.

HCL Grant is a step towards recognition of the rise of the Fifth Estate - the Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs). The Fifth Estate has now become a critical agent of change, playing a decisive role in building a stronger, future-ready India.

Started in 2015, the HCL Grant is a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) commitment by HCL, through HCL Foundation, to strengthen and empower NGOs, engage with them, as well as recognize them for their path breaking work. Currently focused at rural development, the HCL Grant is awarded in three thematic categories, namely Environment, Health and Education. The Grant is designed to support breakthrough award winning projects to NGOs, that have a proven track record of evident impact, high credibility and distinct ability to deliver. NGOs that reach out to marginalized, isolated, underserved and underdeveloped rural communities in India, and work jointly to achieve sustainable socio-economic development.

HCL Grant is HCL's contribution towards Nation Building. The vision behind HCL Grant is to mine out best practices and most successful models of rural development that are relevant in various contexts. Provide a platform where these models receive unprecedented visibility and replicated by many, such that the country excels in achieving the developmental milestones.

Unique aspect of the HCL Grant is that the organizations are recognized not only based on the "idea", but also for their power to transform these ideas into reality and thereby, transform Indian villages.

HCL Grant awards the winning NGOs in each of the categories of Education, Health and Environment INR 5 crore for a 5 years project. From this year, the Grant would like to reward the other finalists too, who are doing great work in their own right. So the 2 other finalists in each category will receive INR 25 lakhs for a 1 year project which will be mutually agreed with HCL Foundation after the final Jury meet. Thus, the total committed fund for HCL Grant is INR16.5 Crores for the 4th edition.

HCL Grant, through Edition I, II & III has already committed INR 35 Crore (US$5.4Million) towards high quality projects in the years 2015-16, 16-17 & 17-18. Through this commitment, the HCL Grant supported projects selected during Edition 1, 2 & 3 aim to cover 9,11,736 people in 3,567 villages in 26 districts across 12 states of India. These projects are already operational in the states of Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, West Bengal, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Nagaland Through edition 4, the HCL Grant envisions to identify another set of NGOs doing phenomenal work. As always, this is a fresh edition and all NGOs that registered and applied before are welcome to participate again. HCL Grant gives a fresh look to each application every year.

HCL Grant aims to achieve sustainable rural development by supporting NGOs that are doing path-breaking work, anywhere in India. HCL Grant has following specific objectives:

1. Financially support innovative, replicable and sustainable projects, proposed by NGOs which are committed towards transformative rural development, one each, every year, in the respective Thematic Categories.
2. Identify NGOs who have made significant impact in rural transformation and publish a compendium capturing work of these NGOs, such that they become globally visible for their efforts.


The HCL Grant is awarded in the following thematic categories. Underneath is an indicative list of sub-thematic areas that could be proposed to seek HCL Grant funding. Please note this is not a comprehensive list - this is to give a sense of the broad sub-themes that the HCL Grant is aimed at:

-Conservation of environment, the indigenous flora and fauna.
-Access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and clean energy for all.
-Combating climate change and its impact.
-Protecting, restoring, and promoting sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystem and wetlands
-Conservation of natural water bodies, including river rejuvenation, oceans, natural springs, lakes and others.
-Combating desertification, deforestation, land degradation, biodiversity loss, pollution and promoting use of renewable resources. (Please note - proposals that come from agriculture domain only, without any environmental impact, will not be considered)
-Wildlife conservation and preservation.

-Right to Education for All by upscaling initiatives that strengthen Elementary, Secondary, Higher Education, Adult Literacy.
-Education that promotes learning opportunities through skill development and confidence building, including digital literacy.
-Education that leads to better livelihood opportunities and improved income & better living for young people and adults.
-Equitable, inclusive, and relevant quality education, leading to gender equality and human resource development.

-Equitable & Universal access to Health for All - segments of population and ailments.
-Access to clean drinking water, sanitation and hygiene facilities, prevention and elimination of water borne diseases.
-Maternal, adolescent, child health and nutrition and eradication of communicable and non-communicable diseases.
Inclusion and gender transformative approaches are underlying principles for HCL Grant.


HCL Grant Recipient NGOs are selected through a structured process, that measures in detail and depth, the impact of the NGO, its governance and capacity to deliver. Three years into this journey, the task remains steadfast: to find the three NGOs most aligned with the overall vision of the HCL Grant: generating high impact rural development in the areas of Environment, Education and Health.

The screening model deployed is simple yet robust, scientifically formulated, with multiple levels of assessments. Parameters include the originality, relevance and impact of the idea, the project's scalability, and how replicable and feasible it is. The history, social audit, and stakeholder engagement of the entity is vigorously investigated. Quantitative parameters include comparisons of coverage versus depth, financial allocations and more.

The process consists of 5 distinct levels of assessments, listed below:

First Level Screening and Shortlisting:successfully submitted applications and projects are screened for eligibility, relevance of answers and authenticity of information. A team of experts, including sector specialists, evaluates successful entries on the following parameters:

Organizational Profile: based on governance, financial management, program management, legal and statutory status, past performance and thematic credentials, capacity to deliver and other such criteria.

Project Profile: based on rationale, clarity of objectives, measurability of impact, innovation, strategy and approaches and proof of evidence on replicability, community participation, scalability, convergence and sustainability.

Shortlisted NGOs are eligible for Field Level Validation

Field Level Validation: A team of experts visits the project locations to validate if details provided by the NGO are true to facts. Shortlisted NGOs move to the Sub Jury round. Work of all NGOs shortlisted for Sub Jury round is published in THE FIFTH ESTATE - the only compendium of its kind, published by HCL Foundation, as a tribute to them. Disseminated widely by HCL, provides international visibility the shortlisted NGOs.

Sub Jury Round: Respective high level Sub-Juries review shortlisted applications and projects based on information and document submitted, and background verification. Selected NGOs move to the final round as HCL Grant Finalists.

Final Due Diligence: A team of experts from Governance Partners conducts last leg of assessment on HCL Grant Finalists.

The Jury Round: An eminent Jury reviews the finalists based on information and documents submitted, site visits and due diligence.


The Grant is applicable only for NGOs working in the field of Education, Health and Environment and having experience of implementing projects in rural India. We are looking for organizations with innovative, replicable and sustainable models, which can make significant contribution towards rural development, in these Thematic Categories.


The organization must be a registered not for profit entity in India i.e. Society, Trust, Section 8 (previously Section 25) company or any other (in line with Section 135 of Companies Act 2013).

The organization must have registered u/s 12A (A) of Income Tax 1961.

The organization should have completed the below mentioned functional existence (as per registration certificate) in India on or before 31st March 2018:

Applicant under Education and Health Category - 10 years,

Applicant under Environment Category - 5 years,

The organization should have completed the below mentioned working experience in rural areas in India on or before 31st March 2018:

Applicant under Education and Health Category - 5 years

Applicant under Environment Category - 2 years

The organization should have below mentioned average expenditure for the last 3 financial years i.e. 2014-15, 2015-16 and 2016-17:

Applicant under Education and Health Category - INR 1.5 Crores or above *

Applicant under Environment Category - INR 0.50 Crores or above *
* The expenditure refers to overall expenditure of the organization and not thematic wise.

The organization must not be blacklisted by any government agency, donor or international agency.

The organization must not have any negative media coverage or any other controversy associated with it.

The organization should not have any political or religious affiliations.

The organization should have registration documents, audited financial reports, tax certificates and FCRA (If applicable) and/or similar documents depending on the nature of the funding/donations that it receives.

HCL Foundation bring to the notice of all concerned that we, HCL Foundation, accept only direct online applications through our official website of HCL Grant portal i.e. We do not charge/accept any amount or fees from any applicant while submitting the application. We have not authorised any third party, company, agency or organization to accept application or receive monies for or on behalf of HCL Grant. We also wish to bring to the notice of all concerned, that any communication in this respect, is with the intention of committing fraud and illegally obtaining confidential information and / or money from people. We shall not accept any liability or responsibility towards such representation made in any fraudulent communication or its consequences, and such fraudulent communication shall not be treated as any kind of representation by HCL Foundation.

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