CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY (CSR) – THE NEED OF THE HOUR
What is CSR?
“No success or achievement in material terms is worthwhile unless it serves the needs or interests of the country and its people “
- Late Shri. J.R.D. Tata
As evident from the above definition, the basic objective underlying CSR is maximization of societal benefits from business.
The concept of CSR has been evolving since the early seventies, and yet there does not seem to be a uniform definition. It is perhaps not surprising that the CSR that exists now has many different definitions. In the Indian context, CSR would extend to issues as complex as regional development, rural ...view middle of the document...
Given the number of household names with comprehensive CSR programmes such as Tata’s, Bajaj, etc., it is perhaps not surprising that the CSR that now exists has many different definitions. CSR is not simply about whatever funds and expertise companies choose to invest in communities to help resolve social problems. It is about integrity with which a company conducts itself, fulfills its vision and mission, adheres to its values, commitment to shareholders, transparency in its activities and its interaction with the society as a whole.
Role of CSR in private companies
The concept of CSR is not new to Indian companies. However, what is new is the way it has caught on with Corporates in India and the direct involvement of employees in implementation of these projects. The trend is especially visible in IT companies such as Infosys, Wipro, Zensar, i-Flex and TCS. Most of these companies are working relentlessly on issues related to HIV/AIDS, healthcare, education, water and sanitation. Corporates like Xansa, Satyam Foundation, Ratan Tata Trust are adopting street children through NGOs such as Pratham, Future Hope, SOS Villages of India and CRY. HSBC has undertaken sponsorships of projects that are pioneering ecosystems in India like the Vellapatti Fisheries Project, Operation Kachhapa (saving the rare ‘Olive Ridley Turtles’ and to ensure their preservation) etc. Vedanta Group has taken up responsibility of maintenance, upkeep and upgradation of the ‘Sahelio Ki Bari’ (a monument) in Udaipur.
Surprisingly though, the canvas of CSR is now so broad as to include; incorporating social characteristics or features into products and manufacturing processes (e.g. aerosol products with no fluorocarbons or using environmentally-friendly technologies), adopting progressive HR practices (e.g. promoting employee empowerment), achieving higher levels of environmental performance through recycling and pollution control (e.g. serious efforts towards reducing emissions), etc.
CSR in Public Sector Enterprises (PSEs)
It has been long since PSEs have been contributing to the cause of CSR in their own way. Initially, some of the PSEs were located in backward areas, set up townships for development, followed socially desirable policies like job reservation, employing the physically disabled, purchase preference to small-scale industries, etc. The PSEs have come a long way since then. To cite some recent examples, Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL) has been restoring, maintaining and landscaping five ancient monuments at Lodi gardens in the Capital. State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur has adopted the ‘Hawa Mahal’ in Jaipur.
Some of the leading PSEs such as IndianOil, HPCL, and NTPC have been doing a commendable job in the areas of social welfare and community development. These organizations have now set up their own Foundations (under Indian Trust Act 1882) to be governed by The Board of Trustees for addressing the niche domains of social development at...