Refraining from projects that would be detrimental to locals, respecting whistleblowers’ rights and allowing equal opportunities to qualified employees regardless of their caste or religion are among the ‘Code of Ethics’ propagated by NHRC for Indian Industry.
The NHRC came up with the 12-point Code after a panel appointed by it submitted a report and said Indian industry’s criteria for social and ethical aspects are yet to reach the desired level of sophistication.
“The agitation and the mass uproar surrounding the Lokpal movement suggest that there is need for creating accountable entities. This aspect should be incorporated in business ethics.
“As per this tenet, companies must conform to trade procedures, including licensing, documentation and other necessary formalities, as applicable,” the study ‘Developing Code of Ethics for Indian Industry’ said.
Noting that inclusion is one of the key deterrents to growth in the country, the study said, the first tenet to ethical behaviour has to be inclusiveness.
“All companies must refrain from undertaking projects or activities that would be detrimental to the wider interests of the communities in which they operate. This implies that companies should respect the local culture, customs and traditions in which they operate,” it said.
In a statement, NHRC said the Code of Ethics for Indian Industry strongly advocates for equal opportunities to all qualified employees, regardless of their race, caste, gender, religion etc for their inclusive growth and welfare.
“It is required that companies strive for providing a safe, healthy, clean and ergonomic working environment for their employees and indirect workers,” the Commission said.
The Code of Ethics was formulated after an exhaustive study based on data collected from 20 industries in diverse sectors, including Tata, Yes Bank and ITC Ltd.
“Code of Ethics emphasises upon the implementation of policies consistent with the laws, development of an atmosphere, wherein whistle-blowers’ rights are respected and employees are allowed to raise their concerns to the top management without fear and intimidation,” the Commission said.
It stressed that all forms of conflict of interest must be avoided.
“This tenet should be equally applied from the top-management to the workers. This would include award of benefits such as increase in salary or other remuneration, posting, promotion or recruitment of a relative of an employee,” it said.