HYDERABAD: Industrial growth in the State is expected to bring a significant improvement in civic infrastructure in villages as due emphasis has been laid by the Government on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities of companies.
Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu, in a recent meeting with industry bodies, sought their full cooperation for improving amenities in villages where new units are established and expansions took place.
The Chief Minister’s request has been well received amid reports that some government officials are mounting pressure on companies to do certain things rather leave the choice to them. Industries in the Capital region are doing their bit for making villages better places to live in by taking up various CSR activities, but their projects have not attracted much attention.
“If one enterprise constructs a hospital, another company does some thing else. A commonality of approach to priorities recommended by government will give excellent results ” observed Andhra Chamber of Commerce and Industry Federation (ACCIF) Executive Director P. Bhaskara Rao.
He said there was nothing wrong in officials insisting that selected projects should be taken up as they would be doing so in public interest. On its part, the ACCIF has promised its contribution to development of 500 Smart Villages in the State instead of doing different things at different places.
An Industries Department official, who did not want to be named, said some proactive officials were vigorously pursuing CSR projects but at no point forced the entrepreneurs to follow their dictates. The industrialists are asked to bridge the gap in funding providing by Central and State government.
At least two per cent of net profits had to be spent on CSR activities earlier but it was recently increased to five per cent to secure funding of facilities like hospitals and drinking water plants by companies. Besides, companies are allowed to take up CSR works jointly instead of separately for achieving larger objectives.
These things will be helpful to local bodies in making up for the shortage of funds required for creation of infrastructure at a time when the State is saddled with a huge financial crunch.
(The Report First appeared in The Hindu)