“No success or achievement in material terms is considered worthwhile unless it serves the needs or interests of the country and its people” – J.R.D. Tata
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is a concept pertaining to the corporate bodies taking responsibility for their actions and looking out for all the stakeholders who include consumers, employees, shareholders, the community and the environment. Thus it seeks to look beyond the goal of profit maximization and aims to empower the resourceless. Although this phraseology might be a new concept, certain companies have been quietly carrying out these social responsibilities out of a sense of obligation.
Nowadays no talk of development is complete without the mention of “inclusive growth”. Traditionally, the Government has been responsible for the upkeep of the rural areas of the country and to ensure that their growth is somewhat at par with the rest of the nation. But government support is inadequate and limited. So, if the corporates contribute to nation building, with the government acting as an enabler and facilitator, we will obviously develop faster. The rural areas will have a better infrastructure and the people will be brought into the mainstream of the economy. On a larger scale, as India develops it will become a better investment destination due to an increased growth rate and more importantly a better HDI.
65% of Indians live in rural areas and 25.7% of them live below the BPL. Rural India is still grappling with very basic issues. This is not just due to the lack of resources but also due to problems in our planning and investment patterns. The gap of inequality between the rich and the poor increases day by day.
Why would the companies want to engage in CSR - that too spend on projects aimed at welfare of the rural Indians? And the answer to this is not just philanthropy. CSR enables them to make themselves indispensible reducing competition in the process. CSR is a must for brand building and brand reputation. It creates a positive image of the company. It reduces the company's social cost by allowing them to expand sustainably. Companies receive tax concessions on setting up industries in backward areas and for setting up water purification projects.
CSR entails triple bottom line as per the UN and European Commission - profits, protection of environment and fight for social justice. A company operates in a community and there will be a harmonious relation between the two only if it is two-sided. Usually in the rural sectors due to capacity constraints they are left out and not involved in decision making. CSR leads to innovative solutions to societal issues. They enjoy full loyalty of not only their employees but also of the community they are situated in. Lastly such acts inspire other corporates to mirror such actions (like Wipro from Tata).
Such projects raise the quality of life and social well-being of the community all the while keeping care of Mother Nature. They help...