National seminar on Gandhi-Trusteeship and Corporate Social Responsibility gets under way
The day customer evaluates the product based on the producer’s track record of social sensitivity, corporate social responsibility will become an important item on the agenda, RINL Executive Director Business Development & Acquisitions R Shankar said.
Speaking as a chief guest at the inaugural of the two-day national seminar on Gandhi-Trusteeship and Corporate Social Responsibility organised by Centre for Study of Gandhian Philosophy and Human Development of the Department of Management Studies, Gayatri Vidya Parishad Degree and PG College he said there was a sea change in the way CSR activities of a company were evaluated. The senior officials of the State Bank of India, who had gone the Visakhapatnam Steel Plant to hand over the formal letter advancing a large loan to the company, were keen on the kind of impact RINL CSR activity was having. They made detailed enquiries about the projects, completed and ongoing, he recalled and said this was the kind of pressure that was required for the companies to pay serious attention to the CSR activities.
All the senior directors of the public sector units have to sign an annual statement of fiduciary responsibility which actually binds the officials to work as a trustee of public resources, this was the concept of Gandhiji’s trusteeship, but unfortunately the officials treat the annual statement as a mere formality and append their signatures to it. They do not for once realise that they have committed themselves to the role and should live up to it, Mr Shankar said.
What use was committing two per cent of profits to social activity when the 100 per cent of your production was damaging the environment, he said. While evaluating multiple business options, the corporations should be ready to avoid the options that have a higher social cost even if it means that it has to sacrifice some returns.
There is a need for humanitarian capitalism and the companies should be ready to spend a quarter of its net profit in socially relevant activity, former vice-chancellor of Acharya Nagarjuna University V Bala Mohan Das said. CSR is the beginning of trusteeship, he added.
Everyone interprets Gandhi in his own way, director Centre for Policy Studies A Prasanna Kumar said. The world is looking at the teachings of Gandhiji, joint secretary in Rajya Sabha Secretariat S N Sahu said.
Director of Department of Management Studies S Rajani, faculty, scholars, Gandhians and students of the college were also present.