India ‘Doing Okay’ in philanthropy


In spite of government mandating corporates to invest 2% of their net profits for corporate social responsibility (CSR), India is just ‘Doing Okay’ in philanthropy according to the Centre for Asian Philanthropy and Society’s (CAPS) Doing Good Index (DGI), a first of its kind survey looking at factors that enable or impede private social investment.

India, along with neighbours Pakistan and China, is featured in the ‘Doing Okay’ cluster in DGI, just ahead of Indonesia and Mynamar.

Countries like Hong Kong, Korea, Malaysia, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam are ‘doing better’ while Japan, Singapore and Taiwan are ‘doing well,’ according to the DGI.

India and China have both recently enacted sweeping sets of reforms targeting international NGOs and funding and domestic philanthropy. India put in place the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act in 2010, which originally focused on international support for political parties.

In 2013, the Companies Act was revised to require companies with revenue of more than ₹10 billion to dedicate 2% after taxes to corporate social responsibility through approved organisations.

‘U.S. most philanthropic’

"US philanthropy is equal to 2% of its GDP. If the 15 Asian economies we studied in the Doing Good Index also gave 2%, it would equal US$504 billion which is one-third the annual cost of attaining the social development goals," said Ruth Shapiro, chief executive CAPS.

Ajay Piramal, chairman, Piramal Group, said philanthropy had seen good growth in India. “A 2% mandatory CSR spend had good impact as a lot more companies and individuals are contributing. We focus on education and health. We partner with government schools to achieve scale. Many of our schools are on a par with private schools.

Today, we touch the lives of over five lakh students on a daily basis. In terms of social development goals, we are behind in healthcare but we are optimistic. Today, India is a polio free country.”

Talking about challenges, he said, “One very disturbing part of the India story is that many districts don’t have basic infrastructure. The Prime Minister has identified 150 such districts and they are known as ‘aspirational’ districts. There is one such district in Uttar Pradesh, where we are working. It is 70% covered with forest and 30 lives were lost due to leopard attacks in the last one quarter. Then there is another district in Assam; during floods, it becomes [a collection of] islands and it takes people eight hours to commute from one island to another. These are some of the challenges of 21st century India.”

‘GDP will rise’

“Daily dashboards are prepared to check on the progress of such districts and the Prime Minister himself reviews it on a monthly basis. The entire GDP of the country will go up and we will achieve our social development goals before 2030,” said Mr. Piramal.

Jamshyd Godrej, chairman Godrej & Boyce, said, “When you talk of giving, it has to start from a very young age, and [on] a small scale, which is probably missing in the corporate sector.

The industry has been the part of the problem, but it can be part of the solution, too. We have got to build a business case for philanthropy and conservation,” said Mr. Godrej.

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The article is edited post publication to replace a comment from Ruth Shapiro, chief executive CAPS.

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Printable version | Jun 11, 2021 6:22:07 PM |

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