The former president of the Institute of Company Secretaries of India P.S.V. Jaganmohan Rao has said social responsibility cannot be forced upon corporate bodies through legislative means; it should come from within.
He was delivering the keynote address on ‘Role of corporate social responsibility (CSR) for inclusive growth in society’, after inaugurating a two-day national conference sponsored by the Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR) and organised by the Department of Studies and Research in Commerce, Gulbarga University, on Friday.
A well-known corporate consultant, Mr. Rao said that going by past events, the results were only significant when corporate bodies discharged their social responsibilities voluntarily.
Referring to the Companies Bill 2012, which was passed in the Lok Sabha and is awaiting the Rajya Sabha nod, Mr. Rao said that according to the Bill, companies would have to spend at least 2 per cent of their net profit on CSR. Mr. Rao said that already there were voluntary guidelines for CSR, and the millennium goals fixed by the Union government also elaborates on the social responsibility of the corporate sector for overall inclusive growth.
As an example of the effectiveness of voluntary CSR, he spoke about Tata Steel, of Jamshedpur, which has not witnessed strike by workers so far.
As another example, Mr. Rao elaborated on the resistance of a village in Andhra Pradesh where Singareni Coal Mines wanted to take up mining. The villagers, who were strongly opposed to the mining company’s move, have promised to cooperate if they are rehabilitated and compensated.
“This goes to prove that if corporate bodies discharge their social responsibilities properly, they can achieve the desired results; in addition, people will also cooperate with their endeavours. Companies should give the people what they want, that is CSR,” Mr. Rao concluded.