Driving CSR to the Next Level: Leadership Differentiators at IICA

Rusen Kumar
Rusen Kumar

By NK and Rusen Kumar

The CSR Act will also help NGO-isation of the Corporate, an opportunity to discuss social development issues in a Corporate Board Room and Corporate-isation of NGOs by infusing best corporate processes and practices in program management and project implementation – Dr. Bhaskar Chatterjee, immediate former DG & CEO of Indian Institute of Corporate Affairs.

The Indian Institute of Corporate Affairs (IICA) is an autonomous institute established in 2008 under the aegis of the Ministry of Corporate Affairs, Government of India. It is as a think tank and capacity building organization in the areas of Corporate Governance and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). It also manages functioning of National Foundation for Corporate Social Responsibility (NFCSR). The institute is headed by a Director General and Chief Executive Officer (DG & CEO) and governed by a Board of Governors. The present article lists down unique qualities and qualifications that incumbent is expected to have to fill in the recently superannuated position of DG & CEO of IICA.

It is important to have an able administrator at the helm with sufficient conceptual skills to recognize various factors to achieve the maximum good for the organization and country, technical skills to understand the space and its relevance to the larger good and people management skills to manage larger teams for cooperative efforts. It also would be ideal to have someone without political affiliations and religious ideologies. It would save entire system maligning itself from petty allegations and counter allegations.

Passion fuels confidence and it’s contagious. Great leader exhibits confidence and it creates value for the designation and other stakeholders. Passion, commitment and dedication are all necessities for the big role, no matter what it takes. The next incumbent has to have a big heart towards the downtrodden with equal zeal to convince corporates to do more.

It is important to note that CSR is not corporate philanthropy. Corporate philanthropy is used interchangeably as most basic CSR efforts are philanthropic in nature. However, CSR is more than corporate giving.  CSR has to been seen as a proactive approach to reduce negative impact on the people and to the environment. The core value of corporate giving is to create positive impact not only to the society but also to the larger universe. The incumbent has to continue to provide impetus to the area of CSR in India. It is important the person is a blend of a theorist and a practitioner with good understanding of social, economic and sustainable development aspects. It is important to take up a step further approach, beyond regulatory compliance, within a thoughtfully developed and well organized program that aligns with respective company’s strategic plan.

It’s time that the Director General continues to recognize mandatory CSR in India is a significant strategic asset for corporate and the country. It is imminent to push companies integrate CSR into the overall strategy management and recognize CSR as a significant component of a company’s approach to reputation and risk management. It certainly helps the board engage its important role in the company’s management of social and environmental concerns. The DG & CEO has to establish that the top management is accountable for ensuring that the social and environmental impacts are addressed responsibly and ensure regulatory compliances.

It is important to note that the CSR amendment is little over three years and it is too early to expect magic in social development space. The corporate world also takes time to imbibe the social framework of operations. However, the space has tasted success and it is critical to document such islands of excellences. Given the significance of social development and mammoth sizes to impact, there is huge scope for large scale partnerships and collaborations. It is important to facilitate and build credible platforms that encourage discussions, debates and deliberations in the CSR space. There are far and few platforms in the existing time frame. Therefore, it is important the incumbent CEO invests in building as many platforms to encourage sharing, appreciating and recognizing good work. These help establish connection among companies and implementing agencies. IICA could help aggregate corporates, implementing agencies and monitoring & evaluation agencies under one platform to recognize and reward good doers. It is important the DG & CEO understands, explores and engages such platforms.

The need of the hour is to install a person with high CSR vision, credibility and relevant qualifications. The person has to have indomitable spirit to strive for creating the difference to the greater good. It is also critical that the incumbent is instrumental in further interpretation of the CSR guidelines under the Section 135, the Companies Act of 2013. It is critical to have a thought leader in providing critical, innovative and strategic vision and primary force in bringing paradigm shift to the realm of CSR practice in India.

The incumbent leader has responsibility to nurture and further build Indian Institute of Corporate Affairs and National Foundation for Corporate Social Responsibility to even bigger heights. There would be tremendous pressure on these institutions to strive to maintain their competitiveness with the mushrooming of private agencies in Indian CSR space. The challenge is to retain them as think tanks, knowledge resource centres and powerhouses on the issues of theoretical and practical aspects of CSR in India.

The position has a huge legacy and big shoes to fill. It is no mean job to mend terms with two extreme worlds – corporate world and not for profit sector.

About the Authors

NK is a Corporate Social Responsibility professional and an alumnus of IIT Bombay.

Rusen-Kumar-Founder-CSR-India-Corporate-Social-Services-Pvt.-Ltd.11Rusen Kumar is the founder and Editor of India CSR Network, one of the world’s largest and popular CSR Newswire. He can be reached at editor@indiacsr.in

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the article are solely of the authors in their personal capacity and do not in any way represent views of any institution, entity or organization that the authors may have been associated with.