HCL & Society
Dawn of the Fifth Estate

Our country today resolutely stands on the strong foundation of four estates - democracy, independent judiciary, matured bureaucracy and free press. These estates not only define the fabric of our society but also act as potent drivers propelling India to the next level of growth and prosperity.

It is imperative that the growth process that we as a nation subscribe to is inclusive, and carries forward all sections of the society across geographies. This is where the community-led ecosystems are destined to play a decisive role in building a stronger, future ready India. As much as the contribution made by the first four estates to the development and progress of our country, it is the fifth estate comprising non-governmental organizations - individuals and institutions formed and led by the citizens of the country, which would play a significant role in the future progress of our country.

HCL Grant envisions to strengthen NGOs and development sector through deep institutional involvement and commitment. The Grant stands testimony to the fact that only strong governance structures, management capabilities and reliable impact measurement systems within NGOs can help them take-up and sustain high impact, complex social transformation projects - vital to bridge the divide between the two Indias - of haves and have-nots.

In the end, for us to be a great nation, we need to walk together, think together, grow together and together take the country forward. HCL Grant is a small step in that direction.

Shiv Nadar
Founder and Chairman
HCL and Shiv Nadar Foundation

About HCL Grant

There are about 3.3 million NGOs in India and several of them are doing commendable work in various areas aimed at inclusion and development. The HCL Grant has been launched to support the institutionalization of the Fifth Estate through the creation of strong governance frameworks and management capabilities.

An endeavor of HCL Foundation, the Grant envisions to build sustainable communities by supporting NGOs and individuals who are doing path-breaking work towards high impact transformation in India.

In the first year, HCL Grant has identified the best NGOs in the area of rural education. From a pool of over 400 NGOs representing each state who applied for the Grant, the top six were chosen from which one winner will be selected.

HCL Grant - Key Highlights

  • Build an industry-wide recognized directory of credible NGOs doing path-breaking work in India
  • Support and train NGOs in aspects of governance, financial management, impact measurement, auditing and sustainability
  • Create a platform for relevant partnership opportunities between potential donors and NGOs
  • Each winner of HCL Grant to receive a grant of Rs.5 crore

Rs.100 crore commitment from HCL Foundation over the next five years

WINNER - The Grant is awarded to one winner / category - the NGO which has made a meaningful impact and has a proposal to leverage the capability and capacity built over many years


Eligibility Criteria

  • Minimum 3 years of experience in the relevant sector or field in India
  • Availability of registration documents, audited financial reports and tax certificates
  • Presence of a Governing Board
  • No political or religious affiliations
  • No blacklisting by any government agency like CAPART, NABARD, NHFDC, etc.

Selection process


  • Robin Abrams – Former President of Palm Computing, and the longest serving Board member of HCL Technologies
  • Montek Singh Ahluwalia – Leading Economist
  • Pallavi Shroff – Eminent Legal Counsel, Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co.
  • B.S. Baswan - Former Director, Indian Institute of Public Administration and former HRD secretary
  • Tom Miller – Chief Information Officer, Anthem Inc.
  • Richard Lariviere - President, Field Museum, Chicago and Former President of the University of Oregon
  • Shiv Nadar - Founder and Chairman, HCL and Shiv Nadar Foundation


  • Kala Vijayakumar, President, SSN Institutions
  • Col. (Retd.) Gopal Karunakaran, Chief Executive Officer, Shiv Nadar School
  • Rajiv Swarup, President, Shiv Nadar University
  • C. Vijayakumar, President, Infrastructure Services, HCL Technologies

Winner and Finalists

  • Going to school - winner of HCL Grant 2015-16
  • Association for voluntary action (bachpan bachao andolan)
  • Indian society of agribusiness professionals
  • Pardada pardadi educational society
  • Prayatn sanstha
  • Social works and research centre, popularly known as barefoot college