Calling the CSR an important business strategy for creating and protecting goodwill and reputation in society and among their stakeholders, Maharashtra Governor, C. Vidyasagar Rao, said last week that the perception of business organizations towards CSR has changed'. He was speaking at the inauguration of the 2nd Conference on ‘Corporate Social Responsibility: Looking Beyond Compliance’ so thoughtfully organized by the Indo–American Chamber of Commerce”. The Governor added that “by holding this conference the Indo–American Chamber of Commerce deserves our compliments for serving as a catalyst in fostering business collaborations and people-to-people contacts.
The Governor further said that Last year, when Government of India mandated companies having a turnover of Rs. 1000 crore or more, or net-worth of Rs. 500 crore or more to spend 2 per cent of their average net profit on CSR last year, there were apprehensions and whispers of dissents among business organizations and corporate. However, one year on, there has been a realization that CSR expenditure will not affect profit adversely; on the contrary, it will help business organizations to enhance their reputation further.
He added that “I understand that the Central Government has taken steps to address the valid concerns of multinational corporations and other business organizations in this regard. If implemented properly and willingly, the new CSR guidelines can generate Rs. 20000 – 25000 crore annually, which can be used for a set of socially oriented programmes identified by the Government such as eradication of hunger, malnutrition, environment sustainability, protection of heritage, the Clean Ganga River campaign and others”. He added that the new CSR policy promises to create many job opportunities for the youths in the social sector, thereby creating a win-win situation for all.
Rajyalakshmi Rao, President of the West India Council of the Indo-American Chamber of Commerce while welcoming the distinguished gathering, averred that there is strong evidence that the journey towards business transformation has begun for many of India’s top companies. However Companies need to analyze whether their CSR activities are really impactful and are they genuinely changing the ground reality.
She further added that Companies need to build, innovate and transform on a regular basis and that there are plenty of opportunities for companies to get creative with their CSR initiatives and experiment with new types of engagement. She concluded by saying that “India has taken the right and forward-looking resolution. It is for all of us – the corporate, government bodies and the NGOs to work sincerely with dedication to implement this even more effectively”.
Madhulika Gupta, Conference Chairperson & Member of the IACC National as well as Western Region Committee is the Founder CEO of REPUTE, Public Affairs & CSR Solutions set the tone of the Conference by her remarks stating that “India can well be proud to be the first country in the world to bring about a CSR Act which makes it mandatory for specified companies to allocate funds for activities which benefit society”. “We are fortunate that a new government that came into power since the passing of the Act, has given a big momentum to CSR by focusing rightly on inclusiveness as part of India’s economic growth”.
“If we act responsibly, which I am sure we will, a significant part of inclusivity will be well addressed” she added.