N. R. Krishnan
Director, Cognizant Foundation
The year that went by was one of mixed fortunes for the Foundation. On the debit side, Lakshmi, who was the face of Cognizant Foundation for over a decade, decided to take his last bow and left to pursue other socially relevant interests. But we draw comfort from the fact that he does make himself available to us whenever needed. On the plus side, we acquired three strong assets in the form of Keshav Desiraju, Balaji and Dr. Nandini Rangaswamy as Directors on the Board. The team spirit lives on.
In operations too, Cognizant Foundation saw an uptick in its fortunes and a marked change in its outlook motivated by the availability of more funds. In the past, limited funds and a desire to reach out to those in immediate need for assistance affected the pursuance of research oriented projects or those of a developmental nature. There were, of course, exceptions. But 2018-19 saw the beginning of a trend to look at such proposals on their merit and commit support to them. Some of them like DNA typing of a little over 20,000 Indians to enable compatibility in blood transfusions or organ transplantation or the project to eliminate avoidable premature blindness caused by Retinopathy of Prematurity or partnering incubation of projects in healthcare for commercial scaling-up have opened up a new vista of co-operation with institutions of applied research. The Foundation has begun to work closely with frontline institutions to identify more such projects.
The long-cherished desire to promote excellence in academic research has also fructified. In addition to the sought-after Cognizant Foundation Scholarship Scheme in Engineering Colleges, nurturing young talent in the field of Higher Mathematics has also made a beginning in association with a renowned institution in Chennai.
The role of Cognizant Associates in the Foundation's activities has been noteworthy as always. The success of projects like those aimed at extending permanent relief to people affected by rain and floods in Tamil Nadu in the recent past stands as a testimony to their enthusiasm. With them by our side, we look to the future with confidence.
Mr N. R. Krishnan was a member of the Indian Administrative Service and a Secretary to the Government of India. A specialist in energy and sustainable development, Krishnan has been associated with introduction of legislation on matters relating to these subjects and in framing government policy. At the international level, he has had a longstanding association with the United Nations Environment Programme and was Chairman of UN bodies connected with the Montreal Protocol and sustainable forest management.
Krishnan was associated with the National Law School University in Bengaluru and with the Madras School of Economics in Chennai in introducing Environmental Law and Environmental Economics in their curricula.Holder of a Master’s Degree in Chemistry from the University of Delhi and a lecturer in St. Stephen’s College, Delhi, Krishnan was a Visiting Fellow at Queen Elizabeth House, Oxford and an ILO Fellow at the Harvard Institute of International Development. A regular contributor of articles to national journals on environment, climate change and issues in public policy, Krishnan is on the jury of India’s premier industry associations to recognize India’s best corporate houses for their record in sustainable development. He also serves as a Director on the boards of many companies.