IndiaCSR News Network
Bibhu Prasad Mohanty
Abstract:- It is reported under Ministry Of Environment and Forest and other media houses that there has been several cases across the country where R&R and CSR activities are at confusing status. MoEF has been facing grave criticism on this issue for last one decade. It is a fact that while obliging land of law corporate houses knowingly and unknowingly confuse with R&R and CSR . Because both have same kind of activities. But in both cases the focus groups and objectives are different. Here is the attempt by the author to show the real difference between the two.
(The author is a trained practitioner of both R&R and CSR for more than a decade.)
After the transition of Land Acquisition Act 1894 to enactment of The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 (“LARR13”) Resettlement and Rehabilitation activity got a new thrust and force in the process of implementation. Resettlement and Rehabilitation Policy 2007 could make a road setting for many corporate houses in India on this aspect. Eventually R&R got a place in land acquisition as per several directions and displeasure of Supreme Court of India in different verdicts across last so many years. Honourable Supreme court is aware and sensible on one thing the existing R&R activities are not adequate and adhering to expected outcomes. It is a fact that displacement in India has several development issues. There are huge no of unsolved questions related to this. However due to several struggles and pressure from national and international forum and intellectual interventions to day this country has the privilege of having a human centred approach to land acquisition to public good.
It is definitely a new vista of new thinking , a transition from colonial thinking to a practice of true humanitarian services to people of independent India. At the same time Company Act 2013 had also came up making Company law more conducive for business in India. It has several advantages and facilities for corporate houses. Corporate Social Responsibility came up in a bigger way in Section 135 , Schedule VII. CSR is now mandatory for all the corparate bodies with Rs.500 crore investment / with Rs.1000 crore annual transaction / making an annual net profit of Rs. 5 crore. Except a few points of MDG (such as Reducing child mortality and improving maternal health , Combating human immunodeficiency virus, acquired immune deficiency syndrome, malaria and other diseases and social business etc )many major points are now included in this for development activities under CSR by corporate houses. It is a fact that while obliging land of law corporate houses knowingly and unknowingly confuse with R&R and CSR . Because both have same kind of activities. But in both cases the focus groups and objectives are different.
Corporate houses have been valuing Resettlement and Rehabilitation activities as a humanitarian support practice under designed Resettlement and Rehabilitation activities for displaced people those who have been forced to give land to large scale development projects as the development projects like dams, roads, industries etc are meant for large scale benefit to people of this country at large number. In return they are given compensation for the land, constructed houses or community resettlement infrastructures, different income generation trainings as the projects disturb their existing livelihood and livelihood skill, also employment facility to some of the members of the family etc under resettlement and rehabilitation package activity. Effort is made to take care of smooth living of the people after displacement. People get benefit of better facilities to the education of their children, Health facilities, sports and so on. In some of the cases scholarship, health insurance were administered for these stakeholders of the projects.
The underlying socio-economic and political impact becomes far reaching for the people. And the objective is also to encompass such impacts in purposeful and healthy manner. The beautiful fact of this R&R activity is the increasing awareness of displaced people about their entitlement. They come across a situation where they compensated for land and they learn about the processes followed in land alienation process, their entitlements for that. They loose livelihood and they go through a process where they shift from one to many livelihood activities, related skills and scope of adopting multiple income sources enriching their economic and social status. However the scope of livelihood in the areas of large scale projects are enormous which is known to many. Therefore people in this century they invite such changes.
In many of the cases all the great intentions and processes found bringing adversity in life of those displaced people. Those intended facilities for displaced people become formalities of Govt nd project authorities and bring more displeasure and annoyance towards the dreamed projects which would bring prosperity for many. The delays or pending cases or resentments of displaced people across the country is the evidence of faulty approaches and mechanical implementation of R&R supports to displaced people by Govt and private large scale projects. Since 1962 to recent days it was found millions of cases are pending in different courts of India on this subject. Many complainants and responders both have left their body of heavens abode but the cases remain unsolved in those courts. The judgments still locked in the name of inadequacy in supportive documents, sometime magistrate is not available, R&R officer is out of office, analysis if documents need more time and so many pleas and excuses. Lack of time limitation and urgency of addressing such cases is never ever though of. Magistrates are considered as the God in this country. They can come and go to office as they wish.
They can ask or speak any irrelevant and humiliating questions in court and there is no restriction or limitation for them in this regard. It must mentioned here that these are the public opinion and observation so far. It does not mean all the magistrates are of such character and behavior in regard to R&R or sensitive problems are concerned. However because of these bottlenecks both the project and displaced people suffer years in terms of money, time and mental sufferings. At times stay orders of court make the life of displaced mass miserable. Due to such situation all the R&R benefits are stopped for indefinite time that brings substantial loss to all the people in community too. Judiciary system need more sensibility to such situations and provide justice in time to expedite the progress or change in condition in right direction for the benefit of the country and individual or group of people displaced or suffered injustice or delay in justice.
R&R is a project activity and its expenditure is inbuilt in the project. Its time and benefit to people are well organised and designed under Govt rules and regulations. Now after new law the process is further strengthened . That become more people oriented than previous law. Therefore it is a mandatory activity for project. It is a statutory obligation of the project and stakeholders involve in the implementation including Govt and project authorities with relevant power and responsibilities bestowed on them.
Corporate Social Responsibility:- A Beginning
It is a fact that corporate houses are paying taxes and availing benefits of Govt facilities. Their tax money and contribution for Compensatory Afforestation fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA) is suppose to be spent of benefit of people. In an ideal situation there is no need of spending on social and economic development of target mass or community around the development projects. But the reality is different. Govt is unable to implement the desired and planned changes in the communities from where projects are mostly operated and gain huge profit. Corporate houses face stringent law and order situation as Govt fails to address basic problems and aspiration of communities around the industries, dams, large scale development projects of urban infrastructure development. As the corporates usually paid off charges and taxes to Govt and remain abide with the law of the soil they do not heed to the demands of those communities. But delaying supports to community demands cause create several law and order situations. Several Studies say thus companies bear huge losses and progress of both communities and companies or projects get delayed.
Corporate Social Responsibility practices
Therefore it is decided at apex level of democracy of India to involve corporates or big projects of huge investments to participate actively in basic development of communities around them out of their profit money. There are several best reasons credited to this change those are attuned with national development purpose. Thus CSR is now a vital operation that adds value to the product and services of large companies along with other ISO standards they oblige. Therefore it is definitely a great step of Govt of India and Federations of Industries and Mines owners in India those who are actively supporting this decision of including CSR in new Companies Act 2013. Again it is humanitarian and add value to the product and services of the corporates those who adopt it. Now most of the companies are aware of the new law and procedures to be followed in reporting and consequences of neglecting those law. Of course by doing that there is an increase in accountability of the companies towards development of nation and its social and economic status. Under CSR the best thing would be to facilitate national and state Govt schemes to reach people in remote parts of India. India being a country of villages there are several villages which require supports in education, health, girl child development, economic empowerment of women and handicapped people, sports, peace process, youth with good livelihood options, strengthening value chains of food and livelihood security, conservation of biodiversity, popularising science and technology in rural area, water and sanitation, drinking water, communicable diseases, strengthening governance of the panchayat and so on.
MDG is consulted and incorporated in Company Act 2013 in precise manner under Schedule 123 of Section VII where CSR is described. Govt programs as commitment to MDG are already linked to CSR of any company so that the facilities reach poor. Corporate houses must arrange the missing gaps of MDG implementation and bring down the benefit to poor in their operational or focus area. For example if the region is having infrastructure problem like road connectivity, corporate engaged in CSR should not construct the road rather make arrangements, use several lobby tools to motivate Govt machinery to work there to facilitate different schemes which will enable people to get the benefit of PM Sadak Yojana or any other state level facilities. It is found in many cases and many places Govt is not able to distribute iron tablets for adolescent girls through their system. Without crticising system organise necessary arrangements and facilities and make sure that our girl children take those tablets and remain healthy. It is not spending is important rather making the facilities reach the people is very important. In reality Govt can do things far better than any company. Because its competency is long continuation of the program. Similar is other areas of development.
Fundamental differences between R&R and CSR
|Resettlement & Rehabilitation||Corporate Social Responsibility|
|It is very much required and mandatory to resettle the displaced family from project area at other location than the project area. Its cost is inbuilt in the project of the company.||Initially it was voluntary but under MOEF direction through environmental clearance certificate it is very much mandatory to do good in surrounding villages of project or company which is affecting the environment of the location. Therefore good for public starts through socio-economic development of the public around the company set up.|
|Displaced person or family must be rehabilitated as he lost his/her livelihood in the process of project implementation In the process of resettlement of pAF or land sellers, project / company has to look in to the issues pertaining to complete payment of compensation of land either the sold to the company or the land is acquired through Land Acquisition Act under Govt intervention. Necessary counseling to affected people and land sellers is to be cared for by the company and the appropriate authority from Govt whichever is easier and appropriate?||Strategically CSR activities are conducted in villages or surrounding human settlements which are influenced socially, economically and environmentally. People in these locations are taken as first neighbour of the company and a peaceful relationship is built up by helping them in fulfilling their aspirations of development. Surrounding population is taken care interms of health, education, infrastructure, livelihood, livestock, women empowerment, youth development, addressing issues pertaining to malnutrition, sports development, girl child development and so on.|
|R&R is connected to land acquisition or land purchase by the company for public purpose||CSR is connected to the profit of company and it can go beyond the project area and its location.|
|Under R&R the land seller or project affected family must abide with law of the land. This is restricted to support only those targeted mass.||CSR deals with people beyond project affected families and land sellers. In the process of implementation of CSR those critical mass of PAF or Land seller may be benefited.|
Therefore companies must take the opportunity to be closer to community and should not get afraid of the criticisms by opinion leaders , media or other people of conflicts. They should also remain alert of differences between CSR and R&R so that after R&R activities they should implement CSR work in those R&R area. Because R&R can not continue for indefinite time but CSR continues till the company continues to make profit. So it should be willful wish of the company to develop the community in such a manner that the community will be able fulfill the company requirements like HR, infrastructure, support and restrict different types of exploitation by unscrupulous people in the region. It is very much wise to keep R&R and CSR separate from each other till R&R is over.
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2. Land rights Ownership 2008 – Govt of India and UNDP
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4. Resettling Displaced People: Policy and Practice in India by Sri Hari Mohan Mathur
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8. Notification of provisions relating to corporate ,social responsibility under the Companies Act, 2013- KPMG, Feb 2024