[recent_post_slider design="design-4"]

MoU Among 8

 

The Union Cabinet under the Chairmanship of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its post-facto approval to the Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) between the Ministry of Corporate Affairs, Competition Commission of India (CCI) and Indian Institute of Corporate Affairs (IICA) with Foreign Countries/Organizations.

 

The Memoranda of Understanding are among the following: Ministry of Corporate Affairs and the Ministry of Economic Affairs of the Netherlands; Competition Commission of India (CCI) and Federal Anti-monopoly Service of the Russian Federation; CCI and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission; CCI and Directorate General for Competition of the European Commission; CCI and Competition Bureau, Canada; Indian Institute of Corporate Affairs (IICA) and George Washington University, UIICA and Institute of Directors, London, UK; and IICA and International Finance Corporation.

 

 

The signing of MOUs will facilitate the exchange of knowledge and information, technical cooperation, experience sharing, enforcement cooperation etc. with the concerned organizations. The areas include among others, corporate governance and corporate social responsibility (CSR), in the spheres of corporate regulation, professions of accountancy and company secretary-ship resulting in responsible business practices, corporate disclosures and reporting etc.

 

Implementation of the MOUs will be monitored by a bilateral Working Group on corporate governance and corporate social responsibility (CSR).

The evolution of corporate social responsibility in India refers to changes over time in India of the cultural norms ofcorporations’ engagement of corporate social responsibility (CSR), with CSR referring to way that businesses are managed to bring about an overall positive impact on the communities, cultures, societies and environments in which they operate.[1]The fundamentals of CSR rest on the fact that not only public policy but even corporates should be responsible enough to address social issues. Thus companies should deal with the challenges and issues looked after to a certain extent by the states.[2]

Among other countries India has one of the oldest traditions of CSR.] But CSR practices are regularly not practiced or done only in namesake specially by MNCs with no cultural and emotional attachments to India. Much has been done in recent years to make Indian Entrepreneurs aware of social responsibility as an important segment of their business activity but CSR in India has yet to receive widespread recognition. If this goal has to be realised then the CSR approach of corporates has to be in line with their attitudes towards mainstream business- companies setting clear objectives, undertaking potential investments, measuring and reporting performance publicly]

The history of CSR in India has its four phases which run parallel to India’s historical development and has resulted in different approaches towards CSR. However the phases are not static and the features of each phase may overlap other phases.

The First Phase : In the first phase charity and philanthropy were the main drivers of CSR. Culture, religion, family values and tradition andindustrialization had an influential effect on CSR. In the pre-industrialization period, which lasted till 1850, wealthy merchants shared a part of their wealth with the wider society by way of setting up temples for a religious cause. Moreover, these merchants helped the society in getting over phases of famine and epidemics by providing food from their godowns and money and thus securing an integral position in the society. With the arrival of colonial rule in India from the 1850s onwards, the approach towards CSR changed. The industrial families of the 19th century such as Tata, Godrej,Bajaj, Modi, Birla, Singhania were strongly inclined towards economic as well as social considerations. However it has been observed that their efforts towards social as well as industrial development were not only driven by selfless and religious motives but also influenced by caste groups and political objectives.Or studies

The Second Phase : In the second phase, during the independence movement, there was increased stress on Indian Industrialists to demonstrate their dedication towards the progress of the society. This was when Mahatma Gandhi introduced the notion of “trusteeship”, according to which the industry leaders had to manage their wealth so as to benefit the common man. “I desire to end capitalism almost, if not quite, as much as the most advanced socialist. But our methods differ. My theory of trusteeship is no make-shift, certainly no camouflage. I am confident that it will survive all other theories.” This was Gandhi’s words which highlights his argument towards his concept of “trusteeship”. Gandhi’s influence put pressure on various Industrialists to act towards building the nation and its socio-economic development. According to Gandhi, Indian companies were supposed to be the “temples of modern India”. Under his influence businesses established trusts for schools and colleges and also helped in setting up training and scientific institutions. The operations of the trusts were largely in line with Gandhi’s reforms which sought to abolish untouchability, encourage empowerment of women and rural development.

The Third Phase: The third phase of CSR (1960–80) had its relation to the element of “mixed economy”, emergence of Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) and laws relating labour and environmental standards. During this period the private sector was forced to take a backseat.[citation needed] The public sector was seen as the prime mover of development.Because of the stringent legal rules and regulations surrounding the activities of the private sector, the period was described as an “era of command and control”. The policy of industrial licensing, high taxes and restrictions on the private sector led to corporate malpractices.This led to enactment of legislation regarding corporate governance, labour and environmental issues. PSUs were set up by the state to ensure suitable distribution of resources (wealth, food etc.) to the needy. However the public sector was effective only to a certain limited extent. This led to shift of expectation from the public to the private sector and their active involvement in the socio-economic development of the country became absolutely necessary.In 1965 Indian academicians, politicians and businessmen set up a national workshop on CSR aimed at reconciliation. They emphasized upon transparency, social accountability and regular stakeholder dialogues. In spite of such attempts the CSR failed to catch steam.

The Fourth Phase : In the fourth phase (1980 – 2013) Indian companies started abandoning their traditional engagement with CSR and integrated it into a sustainable business strategy. In the 1990s the first initiation towards globalization and economic liberalization were undertaken. Controls and licensing system were partly done away with which gave a boost to the economy the signs of which are very evident today. Increased growth momentum of the economy helped Indian companies grow rapidly and this made them more willing{Gajare, R.S. (2014). A conceptual study of CSR development in India. In D.B. Patil & D.D. Bhakkad, Redefining Management Practices and Marketing in Modern Age Dhule, India: Atharva Publications (p. 152-154).} and able to contribute towards social cause. Globalization has transformed India into an important destination in terms of production and manufacturing bases of TNCs are concerned. As Western markets are becoming more and more concerned about labour and environmental standards in the developing countries, Indian companies which export and produce goods for the developed world need to pay a close attention to compliance with the international standards.

 

As discussed above, CSR is not a new concept in India. Ever since their inception, corporates like the Tata Group, the Aditya Birla Group,and Indian Oil Corporation, to name a few, have been involved in serving the community. Through donations and charity events, many other organizations have been doing their part for the society. The basic objective of CSR in these days is to maximize the company’s overall impact on the society and stakeholders. CSR policies, practices and programs are being comprehensively integrated by an increasing number of companies throughout their business operations and processes. A growing number of corporates feel that CSR is not just another form of indirect expense but is important for protecting the goodwill and reputation, defending attacks and increasing business competitiveness.

Companies have specialised CSR teams that formulate policies, strategies and goals for their CSR programs and set aside budgets to fund them. These programs are often determined by social philosophy which have clear objectives and are well defined and are aligned with the mainstream business. The programs are put into practice by the employees who are crucial to this process. CSR programs ranges from community development to development in education, environment and healthcare etc.

For example, a more comprehensive method of development is adopted by some corporations such as Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited, Maruti Suzuki India Limited. Provision of improved medical and sanitation facilities, building schools and houses, and empowering the villagers and in process making them more self-reliant by providing vocational training and a knowledge of business operations are the facilities that these corporations focus on. Many of the companies are helping other peoples by providing them good standard of living.

Also, corporates increasingly join hands with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and use their expertise in devising programs which address wider social problems.

CSR has gone through many phases in India. The ability to make a significant difference in the society and improve the overall quality of life has clearly been proven by the corporates. Not one but all corporates should try and bring about a change in the current social situation in India in order to have an effective and lasting solution to the social woes . Partnerships between companies, NGOs and the government should be facilitated so that a combination of their skills such as expertise, strategic thinking, manpower and money to initiate extensive social change will put the socio-economic development of India on a fast track.

The corporate takeover in Kizhakkambalam : An Indian garment manufacturing company called Kitex has taken over the administration of a small village calledKizhakkambalam by winning the local body elections held in November, 2015. Mainstream political leaders and environmental activists feel that this can lead to a dangerous precedent because corporate body can have a hidden agenda in taking over the administration of political bodies. Former Indian MP Sebastian Paul says that “the company was at loggerheads with the former panchayat on issues like environmental pollution so we don’t know what their vested interest is in taking over the panchayat. They also employ a big segment of the population there and also give out dole to locals. This model can be replicated…it is setting a dangerous precedent.” Environmentalists like C.R.Neelakantan point out that the Kitex group has became active in social service only after they were involved in court cases connected with water and land pollution.

 

Under the Companies Act, 2013, any company having a net worth of rupees 500 crore or more or a turnover of rupees 1,000 crore or more or a net profit of rupees 5 crore or more has to spend at least 2% of last 3 years average net profits on CSR activities as specified in Schedule VII of the Companies Act, 2013 and as amended from time to time.[10] The rules came into effect from 1 April 2014.

SEBI as per its notification on August 13, 2012, has mentioned that enterprises are accountable to the larger society and “adoption of responsible business practices in the interest of the social set-up and the environment are as vital as their financial and operational performance”.[12] SEBI has mandated the inclusion of Business Responsibility Reports as part of the annual reports of the Top 100 listed entities based on market capitalization at BSE and NSE. It is mandatory to make these reports available on the website of the company. For companies that do not belong to Top 100, inclusion of Business Responsibility Reports is not mandatory, though SEBI encourages its inclusion in the annual report and website.

 

Leave a Reply