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CSR is not a charity but a duty and responsibility towards society

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) guidelines define its philosophy wherein organizations serve the interest of society by taking responsibility for the impact of their activities on customers, employees, shareholders, communities and the environment in all aspects of their operations. Under these guidelines, the long-term CSR Plan is to match with the long-term Business Plan of the Organization. The activities under CSR are to be selected in such a manner that the benefits reach the smallest unit, i.e., village, panchayat, block or district, depending upon the operations and resource capability of the company.

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is not a charity but a duty & responsibility towards society inspired by the highest values of seeking to return to society a part of what we have received in whatever capacity & to whatever extent we can.

Social responsibility has been part of our ancient Indian tradition. The spirit of contributing towards the welfare of society is inherent to every Indian individual, but sometimes it needs inspiration, an outlet and leads to direction.

For example, Swami Vivekananda inspired Jamshedji Tata to spend on healthcare when he established pioneering institutions like the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), the National Center for Performing Art (NCPA) and the Tata Memorial Hospital.

Former Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, had once stated that the business too owes anobligation to the society. No one appreciated this better than JRD who invested liberally in socially useful activities. He urged the industrialists to consider what their obligations were. It should be to discover the opportunities to invest in socially useful projects, in creating new opportunities for the under privileged, the less developed regions and the marginalized sections of our society.

“Corporate social responsibility is not philanthropy. It is not charity. It is an investment in our collective future”, he added. Former President of India Pranab Mukherjee, once pointed that the notion of CSR is not new to India. Mahatma Gandhi had espoused the socio-economic philosophy of trusteeship. It provided a means for wealthy people to be trustees to look after the welfare of the common man.

CSR gradually evolved into the corporate framework. CSR refers to a company’s sense of responsibility extending beyond its shareholders to all stakeholders, notably the people and ecology in its operation’s domain. It indicates a sense of ‘corporate citizenship’. Though a business entity incurs short-term costs without direct financial benefit, it gains in the long run through the promotion of social and environmental change.

He went on to say that the inclusive growth is an avowed objective of our public policy. It calls for intensive collaborative efforts of the Government and the corporate sector to provide the basics for improving the quality of life in our rural and urban areas. The corporate sector must provide renewed impetus to CSR initiatives towards cleanliness, health and education. The Government has launched several important schemes in this direction. To mention a few – Swachh Bharat Mission aims at a Clean India by 2nd October, 2019 to coincide with the 150th Birth Anniversary of Gandhiji; Saansad Adarsh Gram Yojana envisages the integrated development of selected villages. The corporate sector can work at various models to develop a synergetic relationship in the implementation of these schemes.

Mukherjee commented that in the sphere of health and education, many companies have established reputed institutions. The private sector can extend the good work to rural areas by meeting the infrastructure requirements in government schools and investing in teacher up-skilling.

Companies can adopt specific blocks or districts for such intervention. This can be synergized with efforts to tackle malaises like malnutrition and other health-related issues.

He urged, the corporate sector must also venture beyond the mandated CSR spend – to activities such as energy conservation; environment protection; and development of an innovative spirit among workers to foster productivity and industrial growth. To my mind, more than money, important socioeconomic objectives need innovative ideas, technology and management for their speedy realization. The Indian industry must leverage its strengths and competencies, and lend its expertise in a wide array of programmes.

He said, that Indian industry has displayed a keen interest in contributing to the betterment of the society. Shouldering the task of socio-economic development is increasingly considered a shared responsibility of the Government and the industry. India having the most elaborated CSR mechanism and implementation strategy has started its journey to set a benchmark in attaining sustainability goals and stakeholder activism in nation building.

The CSR ambit is getting bigger and for upcoming years it would turn as a unique knowledge base for analyzing and achieving sustainability goals as among various large economies. India is a country which has assured by mandating CSR through its legislative action.

The CSR ambit is getting bigger and for upcoming years it would turn as a unique knowledge base for analyzing and achieving sustainability goals as among various large economies. India is a country which has assured by mandating CSR throu its legislative action.

The importance of inclusive growth is widely recognized as an essential part of India’s quest for development. It reiterates our firm commitment to include those sections of the society in the growth process, which had hitherto remained excluded from the mainstream of development through its legislative action. India’s philanthropic landscape has undergone major changes over the past years. Mandating CSR helped the corporate sector transition from a voluntary and unsystematic approach to a structured way of contributing to social welfare.

Although the law has infused capital into the social sector, the programs’ impact and effectiveness must be measured to help identify gaps and solutions. Lastly, instead of a narrow perception of CSR, one needs to understand the holistic view of it.

The Government of India is willing to take measures to facilitate ease of doing business by creating an effective and receptive CSR legal framework. This will teach social consciousness in a company. This way, CSR expenditure can even more meaningfully contribute towards achieving Sustainable Development Goals.


Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this section and articles contributed are those of the respective authors, who have submitted it as their original work. They do not reflect the opinions or views of CSR Times, or its employees, management and group publications. The accuracy and reliability of information presented has not been verified by CSR Times. CSR Times will not be held responsible in any way for the content of this article.






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