By Manish Kumar Singh
CSR is the means through which Indian Inc. are embarking upon sustainable growth. This journey started a decade ago in 2007 from adoption of inclusive growth plan in 11th Five Year plan and still making its way towards sustainable growth in India.
Although there are lots of misconceptions about CSR, many corporate citizens see this as philanthropy and have not understood its strategic imperatives in their businesses. CSR has potential to contribute for every business process, if synced with core business ethos of company. It has ability to contribute to every risk or challenge comes on the way be it production, market penetration, stakeholder management, brand image communication, manpower efficiency, customer quality management or most important profitability. And all of it comes through creating value for societal and environmental challenges.
In my opinion, looking at CSR as philanthropic tool is under estimating its value in business process. Thus, integration between CSR and business strategies makes it sustainable and lucrative for both sides. Even, every stakeholder engrossed in the strategically designed and developed CSR projects get benefited from its shared growth.
CSR steadily, but significantly started contributing towards sustainable growth of India. The CSR data shared by many companies shows how it has made its presence through various activities and projects across all states and UTs. Since its inception in 2014, a total of 48,606 CSR projects has been done till 2017. All these projects are spread in 29 thematic areas/sectors aligned with schedule VII of section 135 of Companies Act 2013. The major sectors in which Indian Inc. has spent its CSR fund are; education, skill development, preventive health, sanitation, environment sustainability, rural infra development, agriculture, sports, drinking water and rain water harvesting, Art & culture etc. The diversification of CSR spent is ensuring the inclusiveness and growth across all the section of society and environment. If we look upon the CSR spent in last 4 years, it also shows the increasing CSR footprints in India. In last 4 years since its inception, Indian Inc has spent Rs 27724.3 Cr[i]. It is notable that CSR spends have increased approx 74% from 2014-15 to 2017-18.
The data reflects that CSR spent grew 27.4% in 2015-16, 15.3% in 2016-17 and 23% in 2017-18. Even, if we look upon CSR spent against prescribed budget, it has also grown from 78.8% in 2014-15 to 92.9% in 2017-18.
Through all these data presentation and elaboration I want to make point that CSR has not only started contributing towards sustainable growth but it would be revolutionary if corporate citizens integrate this with its business processes.
CSR must be looked as a tool to not only serve the society and environmental risk, but it will emphasizes to bring across all sections of society, companies, public and private institutions together to ensure sustained growth of India.
Let it not be a mere philanthropic tool.
[i] Data source- KPMG CSR Survey 2017 and CSR Box
About the Author: Manish Kumar Singh, Head- Corporate Social Responsibility – Everest Industries Limited
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