Indian Corporate Citizenship – Need for Better Civil Society? : CA. Bimal R. Bhatt

Indian Corporate Citizenship – Need for Better Civil Society? : CA. Bimal R. Bhatt

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POST COVID-19, Globalization involves more challenges,competition,pitfalls and opportunities. In the regime of digital world, boundaries are becoming less and less relevantexcept physical security of citizens in different countries. Cultural transformation is rapidly taking new color and shape, sometimes beyond our imagination. There are shakeouts in the socio-economic institutions. Mother India is also passing through a distinct phase and trying to take course corrections in different directions and issues. Stakeholders are more and more relevant for the functioning of any commercial organization, more so for Corporates. New entrepreneurship is being talked and seen also. In this new scenario, Stakeholders are to be kept in the centre-stage. The care and responsible citizenship is the need of hour to reduce the gap between haves and have-nots. Corporate Citizenship involves taking care of education, healthcare, employee engagement, safety, environment, energy, waste and water management, sustainable livelihoods, product responsibility,human rights, policy advocacy, governance etc for the survival, growth and development. It has to be part of any Business Model.Among all, EDUCATION is the top priority for our country to face challenges and take the advantage of young citizens. If not tackled properly, demographic dividend may turn into grave disaster. Let’s think about HAPPY and BETTER INDIA. The article provides knowledge on corporate citizenship, philosophy and live-wire examples of well respected Corporates of India.

The issue of responsible care and behavior by Corporates towards society is not new. Even during the reins of Emperor Akbar (1542-1605), the concept had relevance and precisely for the reason, he is remembered today while understanding the impact of culture and well-being of citizens as a part of studying history. No other Moghul Emperor is widely acknowledged for taking care of citizens through his councilors in an un-divided India. However, if we see with microscopic eye, what is the present scenario in our country to observe the actual execution done for various public policies for the good of the citizens? Precisely, for the reason, there is a definite role for the private sector Corporates to step in to take care of Stakeholders under different areas like education, healthcare, employee engagement, safety, environment, energy, waste and water management, sustainable livelihoods, product responsibility, human rights, policy advocacy,etc. This has great relevance because more than 1/3rd of the poor of the World are living in India only. So there is enormous responsibility to make these poor’s being part of the main stream of socio-economic life for the benefits of all citizens.

So, every human being has a right to have a balanced life with requisite education, shelter, food, health facilities, sharing of views with creative and innovative ideas and also to think about others on Mother Earth. Issues have been discussed and analyzed across India since decades on Corporate Citizenship but somehow society is not getting the desired attention as expected. In view of this, I have a belief that actual execution  as a case study by few of representatives from Corporate India has great relevance to have more attention on a bigger landscape and that’s why this write-up for utility, sharing and caring. This is more relevant in view of demographic position in India. Young population (below 35 years) including billions of rural folks requires active and fruitful engagement and that is possible only with right, correct and need based education including skills and vocational guidance. Through corporate citizenship, this can be done at a speed and requisite manner. Hence, let’s understand what corporate citizenship is.

CORPORATE CITIZENSHIP CONCEPT

As a beginning, it is desirable to understand and appreciate the thoughts of well-known leaders for a meaningful observation, analysis and actions to be implemented over a period of time by the laggards in the corporate sector.

Corporate Citizenship is responsible membership of Industry, Community, Society, Country and Humanity, Mother Earth and the World. It also means a journey in the direction towards the destination of well-being of all. Success of all stakeholders is the essence of responsible citizenship.G. Narayana,
‘GURUJI’ Mentor, Educator, Contributor, Spiritual Leader and
Ex-Executive Chairman-Excel Industries Limited
Over the past few years, reading of Gandhiji’s literature and subsequent reflections deeply impacted my thought process. I discovered that much of it is closely aligned to Gandhiji’s socio-political and business ideology. His life is an object lesson in simplicity and sustainability. He could foresee that ‘nature provides enough for everybody’s needs, but not for everybody’s greed’. I realized that this simple but profound message summed up our business ethos and decided to adopt this axiom as our own.Bhavarlal H. Jain,
Founder Chairman, Jain Irrigation Systems Ltd.

  • We realized at Infosys that if we aim for pubic good, it would lead to private good.
  • Beyond a certain level of comfort I think one’s wealth should be seen as an opportunity to make a difference to society. The power of money is the power to give.
  • With the rise of corporate power, businesses today have significant impact on the economic and social systems of the communities they operate in. As a result, corporations face increased expectations, to not just achieve their economic goals but also, in the words of Prof. & Writer Philip Kotler, to fulfill the responsibility of doing good. The Good that a corporation must do is defined by CSR. It thus encompasses the ideas of corporate governance, sustainable wealth creation, corporate philanthropy and advocacy for the goals of the community.Above views, opinions and approach are absolutely worth to achieve inclusive growth in Mother India, a basic necessity to survive, grow and to have the real fruits of the globalization. If this approach is not adopted by the Corporates than difference between haves and have-nots will widen which is dangerous for any civil society including for political folks and captains of the industries. The young Indian folks deserve effective and active engagement for the Sustainable growth of the society.After studying the basic concept, let’s study the basic philosophy and views of well known, disciplined and socially responsible corporates like BHARTI AIRTEL, HDFC, ICICI, TATA STEEL, etc. in India. I would say they have created a distinct reputation and trust of the society in more than 25 years which has helped in growth of their own business as well as industry also.

N R Narayana Murthy,
Founder & Ex-Chairman, Infosys Ltd.

PHILOSOPHY

BHARTI AIRTEL
Business success is not just about profits and shareholder returns. They believe in pursuing wider socio-economic and cultural objectives and have always endeavored to not just live up to it, but to try and exceed the expectations of the communities in which they operate. Quality education is the most powerful tool for socio-economic transformation of a country. It not only eradicates poverty but also ensures equity among people. Therefore, Bharti Airtel’s CSR and welfare activities will be committed to create and support programs that bring about sustainable changes through education and use of technology and ensure:  Accessibility and quality of education for all, in particular for underprivileged children fromdisadvantaged and marginalized communities.  Education and training opportunities to the youth of our country in order to make them employable.

HOUSING DEVELOPMENT FINANCE CORPORATION (HDFC)
Education constituted 34% of HDFC’s CSR expenditure during the year 2019-20. Their education partnerships havefocused on collaborating with institutions at various levels to foster improved learning outcomes in childrenthrough (i) Early Childhood Education (ECE) interventions & Foundational learning programs for children (ii)Capacity building of school teachers (iii) Training in life & vocational skills for young adolescents to make themjob ready (iv) Inclusive education for children with physical & intellectual disabilities and (v) Supporting thedevelopment of ‘model institutions’, that serve as a benchmark for other educational institutes across India.

In Skilling and Livelihoods, the Corporation has focused on projects in thematic areas addressing: (i) Women– by promoting employable programs for the economic empowerment of women as rural entrepreneurs,spinners and weavers, healthcare professionals such as optometrists and nurse aides and for the IT / ITESsectors (ii) Persons with Disabilities (PwD) – developing employable skilling of PwDs for their inclusion into theworkforce, as well as with employers to create inclusive work places for such persons. The sector contributedto 9% of the CSR expenditure during the year.

ICICI FOUNDATION for Inclusive Growth(IF)
For over five decades, the ICICI Group has partnered India in its economic growth and development. Promoting inclusive growth has been a priority area for the Group from both a social and business perspective. The ICICI Group strives to make a difference to its customers, to the society and to the nation’s development directly through its products and services, as well as through development initiatives and community outreach.

ICICI Foundation was established in 2008 forstrengthening the efforts of the ICICI Group towardsmeeting its corporate social responsibility. ICICIFoundation’s efforts are managed by an in-house teamwith direct project implementation capabilities. Thefocus on enabling sustainable livelihood through skilltraining gained momentum with the setting up of theICICI Academy for Skills in October 2013.During fiscal 2020, ICICI Foundation adopted a morefocused approach in its efforts in ensuring skilldevelopment and enhancing livelihoods. This was enabledby inaugurating skill training academies, inducting newknowledge partners and courses and adopting a clusterbasedapproach as part of its Rural Livelihood Program.

TATA STEEL
Tata Steel’s vision is “to be a global benchmark in value creation and corporate citizenship”. The company has always endeavored to conduct its business responsibly, mindful of its social accountability, respecting applicable laws and with regard for human dignity. The company’s long-term CSR objective is “to improve the quality of life of the communities we serve globally through long term value creation for all stakeholders”, which is in alignment with the Tata Group Core Purpose.

The company shall allocate at least 2% of its average net profits before taxes of the preceding three years, towards CSR activities to sustain and improve a healthy and prosperous environment and to improve the quality of life of the communities it serves. The company may also utilize its products and services as suitable for its CSR activities. Any surpluses arising out of CSR projects or programs or activities shall be re-deployed back into CSR activities and will not form a part of the business profits of the company.

The company shall positively impact and influence its employees and partners in fostering a sense of social commitment for their stakeholders.

AS EDUCATION including SKILL DEVELOPMENT is most important for the survival, growth and development of any civil society, this study is concentrated on excellent and need base work carried out during FY 2019-20across India.

BHARTI AIRTEL

Sr. No. CSR Project/Activity Locations (Districts/ State) Amount Spent during FY 19-20 (Rs. in crores) Cumulative Amount Spent (Rs.in crores)
01 Education programs *Satya Bharti Schools Program – 6 states – Rajasthan: Jodhpur; Punjab: Amritsar, Ludhiana, Sangrur; Haryana: Kaithal, Kurukshetra, Rewari, Mahendergarh, Jhajjar; Uttar Pradesh: Farrukhabad, Shahjahanpur; West Bengal: Murshidabad; Tamil Nadu: Sivaganga 0.21 141.86
02 Magic Bus Foundation Delhi and Mumbai 0.22 0.65
03 Satya Bharti Foundation– Setting up of SatyaBharti University NCR 30.00 60.00
04 Skill development program for youth and vocational skills for women Chhindwara, Madhya Pradesh 0.87 5.32

HOUSING DEVELOPMENT FINANCE CORPORATION (HDFC)

Sr. No. CSR Project/ Activity Locations (Districts/ State) Amount Spent during FY 19-20 (Rs. in crores) Cumulative Amount Spent (Rs. in crores)
01 Teacher Trainingprogrammes to enablestudents to achieve ageappropriate learningoutcomes Durg (Chhattisgarh); Ahmedabad (Gujarat); Dumka, Hazaribagh, Koderma, Pakur, Palamu, PurbiSinghbhum, Ranchi, Sahibganj(Jharkhand); Bengaluru (Karnataka); Barwani, Khandwa (Madhya Pradesh);Amravati, Akola, Aurangabad, Buldhana, Bhandara, Chandrapur, Gadchiroli, Gondia,Latur, Mumbai, Nagpur, Nanded, Palghar, Raigad, Thane, Wardha, Washim, Yavatmal (Maharashtra); New Delhi; Chittorgarh,Jaipur, Jodhpur (Rajasthan); Chennai,Kanyakumari, Thoothukudi (Tamil Nadu); Hyderabad (Telangana) 18.65 44.34
02 Programmes for EarlyChildhood Education and Foundational Learning Mumbai, Parbhani(Maharashtra); New Delhi 2.52 5.57
03 Programmes focused onCareer readiness, Lifeskills and Vocationaltraining of adolescentsand youth Bengaluru (Karnataka); Amravati, Mumbai,Pune, Raigad, Wardha(Maharashtra);New Delhi; All Districts (Odisha) 3.72 9.61
04 (i) Support to ModelEducational Institutesthat can serve as abenchmark for education quality (ii) programmessupporting research Chittoor (Andhra Pradesh); Kamrup (Assam); Raigarh, (Chhattisgarh); Sonepat (Haryana);Hazaribagh, Ranchi (Jharkhand); Chhatarpur, Guna(Madhya Pradesh); Mumbai, Nashik,Pune (Maharashtra); Noney (Manipur);New Delhi; Bharatpur(Rajasthan); Ghazipur,Jhansi, Raebareli (Uttar Pradesh); Almora, Dehradun, TehriGarhwal(Uttarakhand);South 24 Parganas(West Bengal) 39.40 70.83
05 Inclusive education forchildren with specialneeds Kamrup (Assam); Bengaluru (Karnataka);Ernakulam (Kerala); Mumbai (Maharashtra); Khasi Hills (Meghalaya); South Sikkim(Sikkim); Chennai, Karur, Tirunelveli, Tiruvallur (Tamil Nadu); West Tripura(Tripura); Dehradun (Uttarakhand) 7.13 12.65
06 Skill Development andLivelihood enhancementprogrammes for Womenand Construction workers Saran (Bihar); Dhamtari, North BastarKanker, Raigarh (Chhattisgarh); Gurugram (Haryana); Bengaluru, Chikkaballapur(Karnataka); Ahmednagar, Nashik, Pune, Raigad (Maharashtra); New Delhi; Kalahandi, Koraput, Nabarangpur (Odisha);Ambala (Punjab); Mirzapur (Uttar Pradesh); Howrah, Jhargram, PurbaBardhaman, Purulia(West Bengal) 15.68 31.10
07 Training persons withdisabilities to becomeeconomically self-reliant Bengaluru, Gadag, Hassan, Koppal(Karnataka); Indore (Madhya Pradesh);Mumbai (Maharashtra); Chennai (Tamil Nadu); South 24 Parganas(West Bengal) 2.88 5.73

 

ICICI  FOUNDATIONfor Inclusive Growth (IF)

Sr. No. CSR Project/ Activity Locations (Districts/ State) Amount Spent during FY 19-20 (Rs. in crores) Cumulative Amount Spent (Rs. in crores)
01 Promoting education,employment, enhancingvocational skills, livelihood enhancementprojects Pan-India 26.32 238.82
02 Rural developmentand related activities Pan-India 53.05 532.60
03 Promoting education – spreading awareness on social issues andEnvironmental protection Pan-India 25.00 26.60
04 Financial Literacy Pan-India 1.09 10.21

 

TATA STEEL

Sr. No. CSR Project/ Activity Locations (Districts/ State) Amount Spent during FY 19-20 (Rs. in crores) Cumulative Amount Spent (Rs. in crores)
01 Promotion of education including special education Jharkhand – East Singhbhum, West Singhbhum, Dhanbad, Ramgarh, Ranchi Odisha – Ganjam, Jajpur, Kendujhar, Sundargarh, Puri Maharashtra – Tarapur 73.92 346.14
02 Employment enhancing Vocational skills especially to Women, Children, Differently Abled Livelihood enhancement projects Jharkhand – East Singhbhum, West Singhbhum, Dhanbad, Ramgarh, Ranchi Odisha – Ganjam, Jajpur, Kendujhar, Sundargarh 24.48 157.59

 

CONCLUSION

The above factual data andinformation providedistinct picture forfurther understanding, insight  and reference for large number of laggards who still consider citizenship a burden on them. Such companies will have difficult time to survive due to activism from youths, society and impact of market forces in a free economy.

The objective has to be a better and sound socio-economic order in our beautiful life. Good work towards civil society always helps in enhancing goodwill and image of the company. May I expect citizens of Mother India, more so of Captains and Leaders, to take charge to reduce the gap between haves and have-nots by enhancing education and skill development of citizens so as to provide them adequate opportunity to perform to survive to excel during difficult times and situations?

There is an urgent need to create great awareness in schools, colleges, management institutes and other socio-economic organizations for a peaceful, growing, equal, happy and enjoying society taking into account the benefits of socialism and capitalism, compassionate capitalism.

It is worth to appreciate the views of Marc Gafni, the co-founder and director of the Centre for World Spirituality, honoring the tremendous impact of capitalism and business on human well-being

“Capitalism has lifted more people out of poverty than any other forces in history and it has done so through voluntary exchange. Communism tried to lift people out of poverty through coercion but wound up killing countless millions. What does it mean to lift people out of poverty? It means babies not dying, it means mouths being fed, it means girls going to school and getting educated, it means a response to slavery that never existed in the world before. It means that all the values of the great (spiritual) traditions  enacted on two levels by ending the physical oppression of poverty; and by opening a gateway for human beings to be able to grow emotionally, morally, spiritually and socially”.

Provisions under section 135 of The Companies Act, 2013 with Schedule VII for mandatory spending of 2% of Net Profit towards Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) by the designated Companies (first mandatory initiative in the World) should do well. This should definitely help in transformation of Indian Society over couple of years. As one of the Stakeholder of the Society, our objective has to be YES WE CAN and SHOULD DO IT to co-create a new upright civil society. Let’s be a good partner in NATION and SOCIETY BUILDING.

References:

  1. “Guruboth” –Fragrance of Love and Light by GURUJI, Ahmedabad Management Association
  2. “Indian Corporate Citizenship-Case Study on CSR”- Book by CA. Bimal R. Bhatt
  3. www.jains.com
  4. Annual Reports of BHARTI AIRTEL,HDFC, ICICI BANK,TATA STEEL
  5. www.icicifoundation.com

Author

CA Bimal R Bhatt – Researcher, Author, Guide & Mentor, Vadodara, Gujarat. Bimal shared knowledge, experience and wisdomon topics of 21st Century “ Socio-economic Challenges, Need for Corporate Governance and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), Corporate Financial Reporting, Business Model & CSR, Risk Assessment & Management” & advised/mentored CSR conference at Baroda Management Association.

Authored a Book(i) “Indian Corporate Citizenship-Case Study on CSR”. Pre-reviewed by Hon. K V Kamath, Ex-Chairman INFOSYS & ICICI BANK and Hon.Sanjay Lalbhai, CMD ARVIND TEXTILES. (ii) “Corporate Governance”-appreciated by business leaders, academicians, central ministers, etc.

 

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