In the evolving landscape of corporate responsibility, the future of CSR lies in a unified and inclusive strategy that encompasses the diverse needs of society.
RAIPUR (India CSR): The annual India ESG Summit, the prestigious flagship forum of ESG and CSR leaders in India, with its focus on driving sustainable solutions for environmental, social, and governance issues, witnessed a significant call to action during its recent edition. Puneet Katyal, the CEO of Viviid Emissions Reductions Universal Pvt Ltd., shed light on the pressing disparities in the distribution of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) efforts across India, emphasizing the need for a wider perspective and an integrated approach.
Geospatial Distribution Disparity in CSR
The Imbalance in CSR Fund Distribution
Puneet Katyal highlighted a striking revelation about the distribution of CSR funds in India. “There is a huge disproportionate geospatial distribution of CSR Funds in India. 70 percent of CSR Funds are concentrated in just 20 percent of the country’s landmass,” he remarked. This means that while a few regions witness a surge of funds and development projects, vast tracts of the country remain overlooked and deprived of resources.
The Myopic View of Corporates
CEO of Viviid Emissions Reductions Universal Pvt Ltd stressed the urgent need to change the prevalent corporate perspective. He mentioned, “Corporates are holding a highly myopic view of the CSR Act by focusing just in the vicinity of their operations whereas the Act nowhere mandates this.” This approach not only curtails the impact of CSR efforts but also neglects several regions deserving equal attention.
Thematic Distribution Gap in CSR Interventions
Understanding the Act’s Intention
Touching upon the theme-based distribution of CSR initiatives, Puneet Katyal pointed out the need for a more comprehensive interpretation of the CSR Act’s Schedule VII. “The CSR Act calls for a liberal interpretation of its Schedule VII while Corporates merely split hair about what’s written in the Schedule, which aborts creative and fertile thinking to solve some of the most pressing issues of our society,” Katyal observed. This underscores the importance of broader thinking rather than getting caught up in minute textual nuances.
Beyond Conventional Interventions
The CEO’s vision for CSR went beyond traditional themes. Puneet Katyal opined, “We have to think beyond poverty alleviation, scholarships, and rural livelihood by taking in our stride interventions that are out of the box.” Among the innovative interventions he advocated for included Women Empowerment through Self Defence, Psychological Counselling, and addressing lifestyle-related diseases that have now permeated rural India.
Envisioning a Holistic Future for CSR
The clarion calls by Puneet Katyal at the ESG India Summit serve as timely reminders of the essence and purpose of CSR.
By addressing the geographical and thematic disparities, we can pave the way for a more balanced and holistic approach to CSR in India.
It becomes imperative for corporates to step out of their immediate surroundings, delve deeper into the spirit of the Act, and incorporate unconventional interventions that address emerging societal challenges.
After all, a responsible business doesn’t just respond to the evident needs but anticipates and innovates to address evolving societal challenges, ensuring an Atmanirbhar Bharat in the truest sense.
The India ESG Summit: Illuminating the Path to Sustainable Progress
Responsible Businesses in Making Atmanirbhar Bharat” underscores the ESG Summit’s forward-thinking commitment to self-reliant and sustainable business practices in India
Each year, the India ESG Summit, curated by India CSR – The largest CSR Media in the world, emerges as a pivotal gathering for thought leaders, industry practitioners, policymakers, investors, and stakeholders spanning diverse sectors. Under the visionary leadership of Rusen Kumar, the summit’s core purpose is to facilitate dialogue, engagement, and the formulation of strategies to address the pressing environmental, social, and governance (ESG) challenges India faces.
At its heart, the summit champions the cause of raising awareness, fostering partnerships, and pioneering innovative solutions for the nation’s sustainable growth. This year’s iteration, under the banner “Responsible Businesses in Making Atmanirbhar Bharat,” promises a rich tapestry of panel debates, insightful presentations, real-world case studies, hands-on workshops, and invaluable networking opportunities, delving into pertinent subjects like green finance, the circular economy, societal impact, robust corporate governance, and building climate resilience, among others.
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