What goes around comes around. Everything is connected to everything else. A man will receive only the yield which he deserves a fruit of his snow. This is how the virtue of responsibility drives one to do what is not harmful to another. A good citizen has the duty to return what he gets from the society. Likewise, a company also has the duty to take the responsibility of the activities which have an impact on the society and the environment.
Companies have responsibilities like protecting the environment and employing persons from the minority groups. But, these duties were questioned by the companies as they did not hold themselves responsible. It was in 1972, that United Nations in Conference on the Human Environment in Stockholm, Sweden while discussing its relationship between business activities and their impact on community adopted various principles, one of which was that, “ in order to achieve a more rational management of resources and thus to improve the environment, countries should also adopt an integrated and coordinated approach to their development planning so as to ensure that development is compatible with the need to protect and improve the environment for the benefit of their position.”1 And that’s how came the idea of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).
CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY
A company is responsible for the repercussions its activities have on the community and it has to take the initiatives as responsibility to make good for the harm done by it. The term corporate social responsibility is synonymous with Corporate Citizenship. Corporate social responsibility may also be referred to as “corporate citizenship” and can involve incurring short term costs that do not provide an immediate financial benefit to the company, but instead promote positive social and environment change.2 The initiatives and efforts that a company takes as part of corporate social responsibility are more than what is required by environmentalist .3
Companies (Corporate Social Responsibility Policy) Rules, 2014 defines Corporate Social Responsibility as: “Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)” means and includes but is not limited to (i) Projects or programs relating to activities specified in Schedule VII to the Act or (ii) Projects or programs relating to activities undertaken by the board of directors of a company (Board) in pursuance of recommendations of the CSR Committee of the Board as per declared CSR Policy of the company subject to the condition that such policy will cover subjects enumerated in Schedule Vll of the Act4
The World Business Council for Sustainable Development defined Corporate Social Responsibility as, “Corporate Social Responsibility is the continuing commitment by business to behave ethically and contribute to economic development while improving the quality of life of the workforce and their families as well as of the local community and society at large.”5
The World Bank defines Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) as “the commitment of businesses to contribute to sustainable economic development by working with employees, their families, the local community and society at large to improve their lives in ways that are good for business and for development.”6
THREE LEVELS OF CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY FROM THE VIEW POINT OF A CORPORATE
When one evaluates social responsibility from the point of view of corporate, one can decipher three levels of corporate social responsibility.7
The first level is the minimum compliance. Here the managers comply with the minimum social requirements of the law. The corporate undertakes its business initiatives within the ambit of law and does not go beyond that. This is guided by transaction ethics.
The second level is enlightened self-interest. Corporate Social Responsibility is used here as a strategic weapon to inform the marked that they are bigger and better than their competitors. Investments in Corporate Social Responsibility today is said to bring long term benefits to the company with an understanding that the consumers the community and the society at large would be more-happy to transact with an organization that is engaged in social activities. This is guided by recognition ethics and enlightened self-interest.
The third level of aims to actively improve society in general. This level of CSR is usually seen in highly matured organizations. It is not dependent upon direct benefit to business. The firm positions itself to CSR because it firmly believes it is in their DNA to be socially responsible to the society in which they are engaging. This is guided by change ethics.
HISOTRY AND EVOLUTION OF CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY IN INDIA
In India, the concept of corporate social responsibility has developed in phases. In the 19th century, business families like Tata, Birla, Godrej and others were inclined towards social causes and they continue to do the same now that too in a larger scale. Between 1960-80, when the Indian companies were facing high taxes, licensing and restrictions, private companies got involved in corporate malpractices. This is the time when legislations on corporate governance, labour and environment issues were enacted. CSR was also given a try to be implemented. Post 1980, when licensing was reduced to a certain extent, companies became more willing to contribute towards the social causes as corporate social responsibility. The Companies Act, 1956 had clear provision for CSR but the new Companies Act, 2013 makes CSR mandatory for companies which fall within the ambit of section 135(1).8 The said section is to be read with the Schedule VII and Companies (Corporate Social Responsibility) Rules, 2014.
CSR in India has evolved through different phases, like community engagement, socially responsible production and socially responsible employee relations. Its history and evolution can be divided into four major phases9.
● PHASE 1 (1850 TO 1914): The first phase of CSR is known for its charity and philanthropic nature. CSR was influenced by family values, traditions, culture and religion, as also industrializatio n. The wealth of businessmen was spent on the welfare of society, by setting up temples and religious institutions. In times of drought and famine these businessmen opened up their granaries for the poor and hungry. With the start of the colonial era, this approach to CSR underwent a significant change. In pre-Independence times, the pioneers of industrializatio n, names like Tata, Birla, Godrej, Bajaj, promoted the concept of CSR by setting up charitable foundations, educational and healthcare institutions, and trusts for community development. During this period social benefits were driven by political motives.10.
●PHASE 2 (1910 TO 1960): The second phase was during the Independence movement. Mahatma Gandhi urged rich industrialists to share their wealth and benefit the poor and marginalized in society. His concept of trusteeship helped socio-economic growth. According to Gandhi, companies and industries were the ‘temples of modern India’. He influenced industrialists to set up trusts for colleges, and research and training institutions. These trusts were also involved in social reform, like rural development, education and empowerment of women.11
● PHASE 3 (1950 TO 1990): This phase was characterized by the emergence of PSUs (Public Sector Undertakings) to ensure better distribution of wealth in society. The policy on industrial licensing and taxes, and restrictions on the private sector resulted in corporate malpractices which finally triggered suitable legislation on corporate governance, labor and environmental issues. Since the success rate of PSUs was not significant there was a natural shift in expectations from public to private sector, with the latter getting actively involved in socio-economic development. In 1965, academicians, politicians and businessmen conducted a nationwide workshop on CSR where major emphasis was given to social accountability and transparency.12
●PHASE 4 (1980 ONWARDS): In this last phase CSR became characterized as a sustainable business strategy. The wave of liberalization, privatization and globalization (LPG), together with a comparatively relaxed licensing system, led to a boom in the country’s economic growth. This further led to an increased momentum in industrial growth, making it possible for companies to contribute more towards social responsibility. What started as charity is now understood and accepted as responsibility.13
CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY IN INDIA: FEATURES UNDER COMPANIES ACT, 2013
For decades, companies in India has been regulated and governed by the outdated Companies Act, 1956. After years of debate and contemplation, The Indian Parliament passed the New Companies Act, 2013. It is divided into 7 schedules, 29 chapters and 470 sections.
It has brought various new features to corporate legislation which include but are not limited to mandatory spending on Corporate Social Responsibility of at least of 2% of net profit, curbing corporate delinquency by introducing punishment for falsely including a person to enter into an agreement with a bank or a financial institution to obtain credit facilities, introduction of new entity called ‘one person company’, simplified the procedure for mergers and acquisitions, limitation on the number of companies in which the same auditor may be appointed, strengthening the role of women by stipulating appointment of at least one women director in the board room, limit in the number of maximum partners etc.
The Companies Act, 2013 came into force on 12th September, 2013. But the provisions of section 135 relating to CSR came into effect on 1st April, 2014. The features of Section 135 read with Schedule VII and (Corporate Social Responsibility Policy) Rules, 2014 are described as below:
COMPANIES COMING WITHIN THE AMBIT OF CSR PROVISIONS:
As per Section 135(1) of The Companies Act, 2013, “every company having net worth of rupees five hundred crore or more, or turnover of rupees one thousand crores or more or net profit of rupees five crores or more during any financial year shall constitute a Corporate Social Responsibility Committee of the board consisting of three or more directors, out of which one director shall be an independent director.” Thus every company having net worth of rupees 500 crore or more or turnover of rupees 1000 crore of more or a net profit of rupees 5 crore or more in a financial year shall fall within the ambit of CSR provisions. This particular provisions is applied to all Indian Companies as well as Foreign Companies.
ACTIVITIES THAT CAN BE UNDERTAKEN AS CSR INITIATIVES
The Policy recognizes that corporate social responsibility is not merely compliance; it is a commitment to support initiatives that measurably improve the lives of underprivileged by one or more of the following focus areas as notified under Section 135 of the Companies Act 2013 and Companies (Corporate Social Responsibility Policy) Rules 2014:
Eradicating hunger, poverty & malnutrition, promoting preventive health care & sanitation & making available safe drinking water;
Promoting education, including special education & employment enhancing vocation skills especially among children, women, elderly & the differently unable & livelihood enhancement projects;
Promoting gender equality, empowering women, setting up homes & hostels for women & orphans, setting up old age homes, day care centers & such other facilities for senior citizens & measures for reducing inequalities faced by socially & economically backward groups;
Reducing child mortality and improving maternal health by providing good hospital facilities and low cost medicines;
Providing with hospital and dispensary facilities with more focus on clean and good sanitation so as to combat human immunodeficiency virus, acquired immune deficiency syndrome, malaria and other diseases;
Ensuring environmental sustainability, ecological balance, protection of flora & fauna, animal welfare, agro forestry, conservation of natural resources & maintaining quality of soil, air & water;
Employment enhancing vocational skills
Protection of national heritage, art & culture including restoration of buildings & sites of historical importance & works of art; setting up public libraries; promotion & development of traditional arts & handicrafts;
Measures for the benefit of armed forces veterans, war widows & their dependents;
Training to promote rural sports, nationally recognized sports, sports & Olympic sports;
Contribution to the Prime Minister‘s National Relief Fund or any other fund set up by the Central Government for socio-economic development & relief & welfare of the Scheduled Castes, the Scheduled Tribes, other backward classes, minorities & women;
Contributions or funds provided to technology incubators located within academic institutions, which are approved by the Central Government;
Rural development projects, etc.
Slum area development.
Explanation: For the purposes of this item, the term slum area ‘shall mean any area declared as such by the Central Government or any State Government or any other competent authority under any law for the time being in force.’
BENEFITS OF A CORPORATE HOUSE GETS FROM CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY14
Improves Public Image: Positive social responsibility improves a company’s public image and relationship with consumers. Companies that demonstrate their commitment to various causes are perceived as more philanthropic than companies whose corporate social responsibility endeavors are nonexistent. A corporation’s public image is at the mercy of its social responsibility programs and how aware consumers are of these programs. Remember, consumers feel good shopping at institutions that help the community. Clean up your public image (and broadcast it to the world!). Corporations can improve their public image by supporting nonprofits through monetary donations, volunteerism, in-kind donations of products and services, and strong partnerships. By publicizing their efforts and letting the general public know about their philanthropy, companies increase their chances of becoming favorable in the eyes of consumers.
Increases Media Coverage: Having a strong CSR program can increase the chances that your company gets news coverage. It doesn’t matter how much a company is doing to save the environment if nobody knows about it. Companies need to form relationships with local media outlets so they’ll be more likely to cover the stories that particular company has to offer them. On the other hand, if a corporation participates in production or activities that bring upon negative community impacts, the media will also pick this up. Unfortunately, bad news spreads quicker than good news. Media visibility is only so useful in that it sheds a positive light on your organization.
Boosts Employee Engagement: Corporate social responsibility helps attract and retain engaged and productive employees. Employees like working for a company that has a good public image and is constantly in the media for positive reasons. Happy employees almost always equal better output. Nearly 60% of employees who are proud of their company’s social responsibility are engaged at their jobs. When companies show that they are dedicated to improving their communities through corporate giving programs (like matching gifts and volunteer grants!), they are more likely to attract and retain valuable, hardworking, and engaged employees. If a corporation is philanthropicall y minded, job-hunting individuals are more likely to apply and interview for available positions. Once hired, employees who are engaged will stay with a company longer, be more productive on a daily basis, and will be more creative than disengaged workers.
Attracts & Retains Investors: Investors care about corporate social responsibility and so should companies. Investors who are pouring money into companies want to know that their funds are being used properly. Not only does this mean that corporations must have sound business plans and budgets, but it also means that they should have a strong sense of corporate social responsibility. When companies donate money to nonprofit organizations and encourage their employees to volunteer their time, they demonstrate to investors that they don’t just care about profits. Instead, they show that they have an interest in the local and global community. Investors are more likely to be attracted to and continue to support companies that demonstrate a commitment not only to employees and customers, but also to causes and organizations that impact the lives of others.
BENEFITS A NON-PROFIT CORPORATE HOUSE GETS FROM CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY15
Funding Via Matching Gift Programs: Matching gift programs have the potential to double, and sometimes even triple, an organization’s fundraising revenue. Corporations that offer matching gift programs essentially double the donations that their employees are giving to eligible nonprofits. What more could an organization want? Truthfully, matching gifts are a bit more complicated than that. Each company has a different set of guidelines, deadlines, and requirements that must be met before they’ll match an employee’s contribution to a nonprofit. However, the opportunity to receive twice as many donations still hangs in the air for organizations looking to benefit from corporate social responsibility programs.
More Volunteer Participation: Matching gift programs have the potential to double, and sometimes even triple, an organization’s fundraising revenue. Corporations that offer volunteer grants are outsourcing helping hands to eligible nonprofit organizations. A corporation with this kind of program might offer (for example) $250 to a nonprofit once an employee has volunteered at least 10 hours with the organization. There are also pay-per-hour grants that many corporations offer that pay a certain amount per hour volunteered. This kind of socially responsible program is a win-win for every party involved. Employees of corporations are seen volunteering and donating their time to important causes in the community, and nonprofits are receiving free time and volunteer work, which are essential for the success of so many nonprofits.
Forging Corporate Partnerships: CSR brings nonprofits and companies together, creating strong partnerships between the two. Yet another positive impact corporate social responsibility has on nonprofit organizations is the possibility of corporate partnerships. These partnerships are vital to the work a corporation can do in the local community and important to a nonprofit that may not have the resources for major marketing campaigns. For a nonprofit organization, a partnership with a local or national corporation puts its name on tons of marketing materials that otherwise could not have been afforded on tight budgets. A key benefit is that the partnership brings additional awareness to the nonprofit’s cause.
Varied Sources of Revenue: Corporate social responsibility programs can be another source of revenue for nonprofits. Nonprofits cannot solely rely on individual donations for support. Granted, individuals make up roughly three-fourths of an organization’s total monetary contributions, but this doesn’t mean that nonprofits should discount corporations and businesses as viable sources of revenue. In fact, companies with strong corporate social responsibility programs are looking for nonprofits to be the recipient of grants, matching gift programs, and volunteer grant programs. CSR initiatives can help nonprofits make up that left over 25% after they’ve looked to individual donors.
CSR INITIATIVES TAKEN BY COMPANIES AND IMPACT OF SECTION 135
Tata Power16: A subsidiary of Tata Power Company, Coastal Gujarat Private Limited (CGPL), has their 4000MW Ultra Mega Power Plant in Kutch and the company, being highly involved in Corporate Social Responsibility, set out to discover the crux of the issue and go about fixing it. In 2012, in partnership with Aga Khan Rural Support Programme, India, CGPL launched a community-based sustainable livelihood programme. This initiative, called Sagarbandhu, was focused in the villages of Modhva and Trigadi in Mandvi Taluka which are the major areas where the fisher folk live and return to when the fishing season ends, and do their alternative jobs, which are highly seasonal.
The Sagarbandhu programme went beyond just looking for way of providing the fisher folk alternative employment for the rest of the year, but also inspired to help develop the community and a sense of ownership and independence within the villagers. Activities undertaken include VDAC formation, value chain analysis, revolving fund at the start of the season, roof rain water harvesting, exposure visits, regular meetings, SHG formation, drinking water and sanitation facilities, school-level interventions, and distribution of boat lights, fishing nets and marketing equipment. Local institutions designed to help with the development of the community were set up. These included Self Help Groups (SHGs) and a Village Development and Advisory Council (VDAC). Through these, the fisher folk and villagers are offered training on new and different fishing techniques. There has also been improvements made to the infrastructure in the villages to provide easier access to local markets.
The communities have been greatly encouraged by the initiative of CGPL and Aga Khan Rural Support Programme and have responded with great enthusiasm. They then decided to launch a second phase of Sagarbhandu in 2013 to help widen the scope of the programme and reach more villages in the area. Once again, they were successful in their endeavors garnering praise and enthusiasm from the fisher folk.
Cognizant17: ‘The Cognizant foundation’ registered in 2005 as a “Charitable Company” under the Indian Companies Act, the Cognizant Foundation helped underprivileged members of Indian society gain access to quality education & healthcare by:
Providing financial and technical support
Designing and implementing educational and healthcare improvement programs
Partnering with Non-Government Organizations (NGOs), educational institutions, healthcare institutions, government agencies and corporations to raise the quality of life for people across India
Outreach was launched in the year 2007 when Cognizant crossed the second billion dollar revenue mark and decided to celebrate this achievement by giving back to the society. This programme is focused on using a combination of voluntary efforts from Cognizant associates and funding from Cognizant to promote the cause of education. As part of this programme, Cognizant adopts orphanages and educational institutions catering to underprivileged children and helps them raise the required infrastructure and meet their training needs
A team of Cognizant associates under the banner of Outreach, Cognizant’s volunteer CSR group that aims to make a difference to the education of underprivileged children, had started raising funds to donate notebooks to underprivileged students in a government school in Chennai. Today, this ‘spirit of giving’ has spread to over 44 schools across India.
Infosys18: As a leading software company, Infosys is into the providing language and computer education. Company has special program for unprivileged children by which the company teaches them various skills and change their outlook too. Company also donates carom, chess board, chocolates etc. to the needy ones. One of the Infosys team works with Kaliyuva mane that is an informal school for droupouts. The company’s CSR activities include blood donation camp, eye donation camp, foundation has been working in the sectors of health care, education, environment preservation and social rehabilitation.
Infosys had spent a total of 239.54 Crores out of the mandated 243 Crores in 2014-15. According to the Annual Report, the balance amount was spent in April 2015. Out of total 15% of contribution was to Akshaya Patra Foundation towards eradicating malnutrition and hunger. Next top 5 grantees also include Chennai Mathematical institute, Ramakrishna Mission, IISC Bengaluru, Infosys Science Foundation and Spark IT Training Program run by the Infosys Foundation. Other allocations include donations to IIT Bombay under healthcare and medical facilities and to Banerghatta National park towards destitute care and rehabilitation.19
Tata Consultancy Services (TCS): TCS is India’s largest software company and has also won the Asian CSR award for initiating community development work and implementing various programs and devoting leadership and sincerity as ongoing commitment in incorporating ethical values.
Most focus of the company is on education sector. Company is working upon literacy program that cares TCS designed computer based literacy model to teach adults and this program is knows as adult literacy program. Company is also working upon environment policy and has been developing environment friendly products and services.
TCS has also taken some footprints into the health sector too i.e. its actively supporting children’s hospital in Mumbai. Success of all these CSR practices is shared by company with a three dimensional framework that comprises employees, management and workplace.
More than 220 Crores were spent in 2014-15 against a mandated 285 Crore. 70% of the expenditure was made through TCS foundation. The foundation does not have a separate website and the details of implementing agencies of the foundation are also not given. Some of the supported activities include Tech support for hospitals and child line software to track missing children.20
MRF: MRF is a public limited company having main objective to attain global standards with ongoing continuous improvement by improving the quality of products and survives. Its CSR focus areas are health care and education Centre. Company having its own coaching center and career guidance seminars, for children of the weaker section of the society. Also awards academic scholarships to the students of local government schools. Main objective behind initiating educational initiatives is to ensure better quality of life to the future citizens of India. Special focus is on women empowerment and social awareness. MRF also works with the motto of prevention of diseases rather than cures and covers sections like gynecology, dubieties, dental clinic, organizes awareness program for aids, alcoholism and de-addiction etc.
Oil and Natural Gas Limited (ONGC)21: ‘Oil and Natural Gas limited’ is India’s largest and most active company involved in exploration and production of oil. It contributes 77% of India’s crude oil production and 81% of India’s natural gas production.
ONGC actively participates in CSR practices. Company has also received ‘Golden Jubilee Award’ for practicing and initiating new corporate social responsibility. Company had and has been working towards water management. ‘Project Saraswati’ was launched by ONGC in North-West of Rajasthan in the year 2005. The basic aim of this project was to locate fresh water unexploited deep ground water resources. Company also undertook education activities in Dehradun, Andhra Pradesh and North- Eastern States. Its educational initiatives includes activities like financial support for Bal Bhavan, Tamanna, school for computer education for disabled children, giving of Bralle Machine for blind children.
ONGC has won ‘Golden Peacock Award’ for excellence in corporate social responsibility in emerging economies’ in the year 2006- by world council for corporate governance, UK
In the year 2014-15, ONGC has spent only 75% of the budget is utilized. The project outlay of Rs.660 Crore has been divided equally across five areas – Education including Livelihood, Health, Environment, Infrastructure support near ONGC areas and Promotion of artisans and sports. ONGC has registered a Foundation and recruitment is ongoing to build the Foundation as an effective tool for implementing CSR policy.22
ISSUES AND CHALLENGES OF CSR IN INDIA23
There are number of issues and challenges to the successful implementation of corporate social responsibility in India. They are enumerated as follows:-
Lack of Awareness of General Public: In CSR Activities there is a lack of interest of the general public in participating and contributing to CSR activities of companies. This is because of the fact that there exists little or no knowledge about CSR. The situation is further aggravated by a lack of communication between the companies involved in CSR and the general public at the grassroots.
Need to Build Local Capacities: There is a need for capacity building of the local nongovernmental organizations as there is serious dearth of trained and efficient organizations that can effectively contribute to the ongoing CSR activities initiated by companies. This seriously compromises scaling up of CSR initiatives and subsequently limits the scope of such activities.
Issues of Transparency: Lack of transparency is one of the key challenge for the corporate as there exists lack of transparency on the part of the small companies as they do not make adequate efforts to disclose information on their programmes, audit issues, impact assessment and utilization of funds. This negatively impacts the process of trust building among the companies which is a key to the success of any CSR initiative.
Non-Availability of Well Organized Non-Governmental Organizations: There is non-availability of well-organized nongovernmental organizations in remote and rural areas that can assess and identify real needs of the community and work along with companies to ensure successful implementation of CSR activities.
Visibility Factor: The role of media in highlighting good cases of successful CSR initiatives is welcomed as it spreads good stories and sensitizes the population about various ongoing CSR initiatives of companies. This apparent influence of gaining visibility and branding exercise often leads many non-governmental organizations to involve themselves in event based programmes, in the process, they often miss out on meaningful grassroots interventions.
Narrow Perception towards CSR Initiatives: Non-governmental organizations and Government agencies usually possess a narrow outlook towards the CSR initiatives of companies, often defining CSR initiatives more as donor-driven. As a result, corporates find it hard to decide whether they should participate in such activities at all in medium and long run.
Lack of Consensus on Implementing CSR Issues: There is a lack of consensus amongst implementing agencies regarding CSR projects. This lack of consensus often results in duplication of activities by corporate houses in areas of their intervention. This results in a competitive spirit between implementing agencies rather than building collaborative approaches on issues. This factor limits company’s abilities to undertake impact assessment of their initiatives from time to time.
The following recommendations are listed for serious consideration by all concerned stakeholders for their effective operationalizati on to deepen CSR in the company’s core business and to build collaborative relationships and effective networks with all involved.
It is found that there is a need for creation of awareness about CSR amongst the general public to make CSR initiatives more effective. This awareness generation can be taken up by various stakeholders including the media to highlight the good work done by corporate houses in this area. This will bring about effective change in the approach and attitude of the public towards CSR initiatives undertaken by corporate houses.
It is noted that partnerships between 0all stakeholders including the private sector, employees, local communities, the Government and society in general are either not effective or not effectively operational at the grassroots level in the CSR domain. This scenario often creates barriers in implementing CSR initiatives. It is recommended that appropriate steps be undertaken to address the issue of building effective bridges amongst all important stakeholders for the successful implementation of CSR initiatives. As a result, a long term and sustainable perspective on CSR activities should be built into the existing and future strategies of all stakeholders involved in CSR initiatives.
It is found that corporate houses and non-governmental organizations should actively consider pooling their resources and building synergies to implement best CSR practices to scale up projects and innovate new ones to reach out to more beneficiaries. This will increase the impact of their initiatives on the lives of the common people. After all, both corporate houses and non-governmental organizations stand to serve the people through their respective projects and initiatives. It is recommended that the projectisation, scaling up and sustainability of CSR projects need to be safeguarded at all costs for their efficiency and efficacy.
It is found that many CSR initiatives and programs are taken up in urban areas and localities. As a result, the impact of such projects does not reach the needy and the poor in the rural areas. This does not mean that there are no poor and needy in urban India; they too equally suffer from want of basic facilities and services. While focusing on urban areas, it is recommended that companies should also actively consider their interventions in rural areas on education, health, girl child and child labor as this will directly benefit rural people. After all, more than 70 per cent people still reside in rural India.
It is noted that the Government should consider rewarding and recognizing corporate houses and their partner non-governmental organizations implementing projects that effectively cover the poor and the underprivileged.
It is noted that CSR as a subject or discipline should be made compulsory at business schools and in colleges and universities to sensitize students about social and development issues and the role of CSR in helping corporate houses strike a judicious balance between their business and societal concerns. Such an approach will encourage and motivate young minds, prepare them face future development challenges and help them work towards finding more innovative solutions to the concerns of the needy and the poor. It is recommended that involvement of professionals from the corporate sector, non-governmental organizations and business schools would be key in ensuring youth participation in civic issues.
Society’s expectations are increasing towards the social development by the companies. So, it has become necessary for the companies to practice social responsibilities to enhance their image in the society. Even though companies are taking serious efforts for the sustained development, some critics still are questioning the concept of CSR. There are people who claim that Corporate Social Responsibility underlies some ulterior motives while others consider it as a myth. The reality is that CSR is not a tactic for brand building; however, it creates an internal brand among its employees. Indulging into activities that help society in one way or the other only adds to the goodwill of a company. Corporate Social Responsibility is the duty of everyone i.e. business corporations, governments, individuals because of the reasons: the income is earned only from the society and therefore it should be given back; thus wealth is meant for use by self and the public; the basic motive behind all types of business is to quench the hunger of the mankind as a whole; the fundamental objective of all business is only to help people. CSR cannot be an additional extra – it must run into the core of every business ethics, and its treatment of employees and customers. Thus, CSR is becoming a fast-developing and increasingly competitive field. Being a good corporate citizen is increasingly crucial for commercial success and the key lies in matching public expectations and priorities, and in communicating involvement and achievements widely and effectively.
After the enactment of the Companies Act-2013, it is estimated that approximately 2,500 companies have come in the ambit of mandated CSR; the budget could touch approximately INR 15,000 – 20,000 crores. It is very likely that the new legislation will be a game-changer, infusing new investments, strategic efforts and accountability in the way CSR is being conceived and managed in India. It has opened new opportunities for all stakeholders (including the corporate sector, government, not-for-profit organizations and the community at large) to devise innovative ways to contribute to equitable social and economic development. Currently, CSR in India is headed in a positive direction as there already exists a multitude of enabling organizations and regulatory bodies such as the Department of Public Enterprises (DPE), Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA), and Indian Institute of Corporate Affairs (IICA). These institutions have already set the wheels in motion and are playing an important role in making CSR a widespread practice and in ensuring success in reducing inequalities without risking business growth.
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