Lessons that Indian CSR needs
Indian CSR – The concept of corporate social responsibility (CSR) holds that for-profit businesses should give back to the community and think about how their operations will affect the environment and society. Businesses and the communities they serve benefit from CSR. CSR initiatives have been found to improve relationships between staff and employers, increase employee morale, and increase a sense of global connectedness among both staff members and employers.
Indian CSR has historically been viewed as a charitable endeavour. As old as India itself is the culture of giving; ancient Indian civilisation included voluntarism. Although Indian philanthropy has never been celebrated, the assumed hierarchy of how contemporary donors behave, particularly Indian corporate contributors, gives great room for improved culture, a faster speed of giving, and other improvements.
The Government of India pioneered the introduction of CSR as a requirement by putting a statutory responsibility on Companies to engage in CSR initiatives for social welfare activities through the Enactment of Companies Act, 2013. India is now the only nation that regulates and requires CSR for a few specific types of enterprises that are registered under the Act.
Has this enhanced the historical tradition of donating in India? Actually, no. In the last seven years, the official Indian CSR has grown at a rate of 15% yearly, and businesses spend Rs 25,000 crore annually on CSR. On the other hand, there is a lot of room for growth since the current CSR is just about USD 3 billion!
Due to its strong economic expansion, India has been creating money steadily for some time. Even though our country’s overall economy is expanding, we still deal with the widening gap between the wealthy and the poor, which can be bridged by generous giving.
In the past five years, total donations from corporate, HNI, and retail donors have increased by almost six times. There are numerous charitable trusts and foundations being established with various societal goals. However, the amount of money currently going to social causes is insufficient. India has to invest almost 13% of its GDP in social causes by 2030 in order to meet its Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) objectives, up from the current average of about 7%, according to NITI Aayog.
According to data, cities are where CSR funds are allocated more frequently than villages. Corporate donors frequently make financial contributions close to their place of business or even in the hometown of the founder. There weren’t many disparities between the company and the owner throughout Indian corporate history. The founders did not—or do not—consider themselves to be distinct from the businesses they built. Therefore, the owner’s charitable endeavours were frequently carried out through the business, and no issues were raised over the use of corporate funds. Does this still exist now under the protection of regulations? Typically, creating a family foundation gives family members who are not employed by the company roles, which boosts their social position.
Many corporations are aware that CSR is a giving, not a taking, activity. Other corporations may not attempt to purchase respectability. Can they not violate the respect due to recipients? Can they not stop making a show of a straightforward compassionate act? Can they allow the flow of donor cash into millions of recipients’ daily lives, giving thousands of people who work in the impact sector respectability and satisfaction? Most people employed in the impact sector make a tiny fraction of what they would in the corporate sphere for equivalent work. Overall, India’s civil society aims to serve the most vulnerable sections of society by working relentlessly to achieve societal effect.
The donor-corporations also need to decide what they want to be renowned for. Giving is a rich tradition in India and is ingrained in its societal consciousness. Those who have extra money are expected to donate it to those in need. These social practises aimed to create a cultural characteristic of daily life that was inclusive.
But the hour has come. It’s time to abandon ostentatious charity and innovative CSR approaches and try participation and involvement without signboards and fanfare. CSR should be the art of societal influence and silent giving. If you do decide to write a song about it, make sure it’s to raise money for the cause rather than to glorify lack of money or poverty.