How Seriously are Gurgaon Based Companies Taking their CSR Initiatives?
The Companies Amendment Bill, passed in Lok Sabha recently has raised many eyebrows giving discomfort to companies. From now onwards the companies which fail to spend the required amounts on CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility), within the stipulated time will face serious consequences. Hefty fines and/or imprisonment of the concerned officers for three years could be imposed by the government. In our exclusive feature SUBURB connects with Gurgaon based companies to take a peep in their CSR initiatives.
CSR on humanitarian grounds stands for the principle that companies need to invest in relevant causes in order to interact and operate with concerned parties having a stake in the company’s work. CSR is termed as ‘Triple-Bottom-Line-Approach’ (TBL), which is meant to help the company promote its commercial interests along with the responsibilities it holds towards the society at large. It does not just stand for charity or philanthropic activities, but holds much deeper value. CSR initiatives should ideally target long-standing issues and deliver long-term solutions!
Evolution of CSR – In the Indian Fabric of Organisations
Before independence in 1947, CSR existed in the form of charity that was individualistic to businessmen and philanthropists who carried out these activities out of religious sentiments.Post-Independence, the Gandhian philosophy of trusteeship gained momentum. It advocated the role of PSUs as important instruments for fulfilling the development agenda. 1991 was the era that saw the entry of global players which enhanced competition in the market. The global standards of CSR motivated the local organisations to proactively respond to the needs of the society to establish and enhance their brand value and meet consumer satisfaction.
The inclusion of CSR is an attempt by the government to engage the businesses with the national development agenda.
India is the first country in the world to make CSR mandatory, following an amendment to The Company Act, 2013 in April 2014. The bill has been highly controversial in India, with critics calling it a “tax” and pointing out the government’s failure to regulate business, root out corruption or even to collect income taxes that could fund social programmes.
As per the latest amendment to the bill, violation of CSR norms will attract fines for both the company and defaulting officers ranging from 50,000 to 25 lakh with officers also liable for imprisonment. The bill also includes an amendment that makes it mandatory for companies to transfer unspent CSR money in a financial year to an escrow account meant for CSR for three years after which the unspent amount must be transferred to a fund specified by the government.
What is happening in Gurgaon on CSR?
Gurgaon is the hub of some of the biggest corporate giants in the world. Most of the Fortune 500 companies run their offices and operations in this millennium city. The city has become an iconic symbol of professionalism, career options, growth opportunities, business development and much more. While companies are rising up on their profit graphs, many are equally focused in spending a part of those profits on social welfare and relevant causes.
In the follow-up stories, we will touch upon some of the CSR initiatives of few leading corporates in Gurgaon.
This article was first published in the print version of SUBURB August 2019 issue.