CSR should serve ‘poorest of the poor’ of ‘remotest of the remote’

How poorest can be the key stakeholder of progress? Every company should identify the poorest of the poor where they work and operate.

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Rusen Kumar
Rusen Kumar

By Rusen Kumar

Poverty is the biggest disease which slowly kills lives with evidence that is hardly noticed. In my opinion, a major chunk of CSR amount should be invested in projects that have capability to reduce the level of poverty. Corporate sector should urgently identify those projects and programmes that have potential to address poverty directly. CSR should be an effective tool to address the problem faced by the poorest of the poor living in the remotest of the remote.

Development is a continuous process and it would be continued for years. Our priority should be upgrading mindset and enhancing positives at mass level towards their local resources, land, and water, natural habitats and surroundings. Human development and balancing ecology should be the focus rather than mere infrastructure development under CSR. Creating infrastructure without inculcating among the people the sense of utility and capability to maintain serves no purpose.

Serving the need of ‘the poorest of the poor’ should be prime focus of Corporate Social Responsibility. Business can only be growing and flourishing in progressive and prosperous society. Poverty is the biggest barrier of progress of businesses. Business needs good society. That’s why business should serves ‘poorest of the poor’.

Poverty is a burden to any society, any Government any nation and thereby a threat to stability of economy and democratic systems. Bringing equality should be the prime work of people, institution and business. CSR should be seen an opportunity for bringing equality and creating opportunity for ‘poorest of the poor’. Govt. must ensure that inequality should not grow further among the citizens of India.

We must have a development model that should increase dependency on agriculture and allied areas for livelihood. Our educated new generation avoids physical works and hates to participate in agricultural activities in villages. Actually we are in the path of destroying our agriculture ecosystem. Most of people get bored from their agricultural routine routing. With the help of technology, we need to create new hope towards agriculture among crores of people.

Success of CSR should be measured with indicators of how much it has abled to serve the ‘poorest of the poor’ and abled to upgrade their thought process towards democracy and positives towards life. Without overcoming poverty, people cannot be happy, and ultimately their existence will not add value to the system and democracy. There is nothing to be surprised that poverty thrives among the illiterate people.

People are unable to find new ways that enable and upgrade their lives because of the fact that enormous socio-economic challenges over the years have defeated their mental and creative faculties. Many problems are directly linked to inequality.

Most CSR programmes are bogus and carry no meaning for the people. Most of the programs are not designed scientifically. CSR should not promote technology and business and should not be a tool to satisfy the market. I have seen various companies’ CSR models and have found that their CSR programme is only made to protect their business interest and promote their hidden business agenda.

Under their CSR schemes, most of the companies in India are trying to satisfying Governments’ ego, and markets’ needs. PSUs are most lethargic in implementation of CSR, they still believe in philanthropy model of CSR. The donate cheques and give heavy amounts to the various Govt. organizations and agencies in the name of development rather than implementing it. PSUs have shown their gross inefficiency of CSR spending. PSU are abdust on CSR.

Corrupt people in the system are channelizing CSR funds for promoting their interest. CSR money is hijacked before reaching to the poorest of poor.

How Statue of Unity will serve the ‘poorest of poor’? Oil Companies have given Rs 121 Cr of CSR amount to the agency making it. It is completely a matter of corruption and misleads common man in the name of development. Responsible politician should look into in this matter. A Minister had earlier sought for CSR funds for cleaning river Ganga, How this will address poverty and inequity?

Addressing economic inequality is a huge challenge before Govternment/s. The bigger challenge before country is minimizing the gap of inequality. There is no focus on creating jobs for our rural youths as India produces more and more educated and talented manpower year by year. We should have a model of work where we can channelize our youth’s energy in social progress and wealth creation.

Govt. should have vision in this direction. Job creation for millions of rural youth, developing scientific temper among new generation, focus on agriculture, and sensitization about communities towards local resources, micro business and education should be among the prime agenda for business and CSR for the next decade.

How poorest can be the key stakeholder of progress? Every company should identify the poorest of the poor where they work and operate.

(Author is Founder and Managing Editor of India CSR Network www.indiacsr.in and can be reached at editor@indiacsr.in)

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