Satyam, Kingfisher, Jindal and their CSR

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My normal questions with young B School students is that which kind of  Company they would like to join “Infosys  or Satyan Type”, Which  business leader they would like to follow  “Narayan Murthy or Ramalinga Raju”. Answer is quite  obvious   no would like to join  Satyam or follow Raju, for  simple reason.

By Anil Jaggi

It  was   another Sunday, but bit  special  as  after  hectic  weekdays  it  is a starting of  festival time in India. But newspaper headlines made this  day different , specially  for  our  bleeding aviation industry,  when Director General  of Civil Aviation (DGCA) suspended  the flying licence  of  leading  domestic airline “Kingfisher” for  not  keeping  its professional, security and ethical standards for its passengers  as well as  its employee and stakeholders. Fail of Kingfisher is one of the biggest failure in corporate governance in the India after Satyam Scam.

Not  to my surprise as in my personal opinion, it was very delayed decision of DGCA in the larger interest of  Indian  flyers, anyway its better to be late than never. As in the past few months this  airline was not able to keep its  commitment, professional standards   not  only with its passengers but  even with its employees.

Another shocking  news from Raigarh was the arresting of Sr. Officials of  Jindal Steel and Power Ltd (JSPL) on the charges for their involvement in attacking environment and RTI activist Ramesh Agrawal. It  was further  shocking  to  know  that they were not  ordinary employee,  one of them was  Ex CSR head  and Retd. Army officer Brigadier (Retd) K.K. Chopra and Deputy Manager S.N. Panigrahi, when they are suppose to promote ethical practices in the company, they  are  going in the wrong direction and involved in such inhuman acts. Recent examples show that how our system has failed to produce responsible manager.

Last month when local news paper carrying  another surprising news  for diversion of  CSR funds in tune of Rs 2.5 crores by Leading PSU and  Navratna Co. ONGC  by its  by Sr. Officials   on the name of  supporting local Govt. schools in Uttarakhand  for the distribution of uniform, furniture, books etc., the whole country is shocked. No and now CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) is  investigating the case  to find out the facts.

I thought its a  isolated case but with growing number of  such cases  coming  in media everyday, it is  a alarm bell for all Corporate Social Responsibility fraternity in the country to do some Analysis/Manthan of our deeds on the name of doing good. Specially when Govt. of India  is pushing ahead its plan to regulate CSR policy and  fund  from private sector also , such trend are  really alarming.

I keep on getting various invitations  for CSR conference in India and abroad and talking  about   holistic CSR not mandatory CSR. It is always exciting to meet young and budding business managers and entrepreneurs  from various part of the country and  answering their  innocent yet reasonable queries on CSR, present and future trends of CSR,  why they should connect themselves  with such programs which can support inclusive development for the social and  economic inclusion of Aam Admi (common people). Now  such news  will hamper their motivation level
But on the other side when such media reports are appearing and giving  bad name  to such initiatives/mission its very disheartening an how we can motivate our youngster  to  change the world, when older generation is only busy in promoting unethical business practices.

My normal questions with young B School students is that which kind of  Company they would like to join “Infosys  or Satyan Type”, Which  business leader they would like to follow  “Narayan Murthy or Ramalinga Raju”. Answer is quite  obvious   no would like to join  Satyam or follow Raju, for  simple reason.

When both companies have good track records, impressive balance sheets and credible CSR related activities or rather Satyam had better credentials and got many national and international awards for their philanthropic activities which included prestigious UK Govt. award  also for CSR in 2008.

During  recent Coalgate (Coal Mines Alotment) scandal  when  name of OP Jindal Groups, Abhijeet Group, Monnet Group appeared in media, no one thought that such a leading company can also  carry  such practices and use their power and money to influence change the Govt. polices in their favour  and on the other side using CSR  just as another marketing and business promotion tool.

So where  are we heading  for, corporate responsibility is going to be another face wash exercise  or really going to bring some tangible results  for the betterment of our marginalised and under-privileged  brother and sisters and  will save our planet from illegal mining etc.

But  today  with such double standards , what  message  we are giving to our future generation  who is  ready for new  and out of box thinking  &  ready  to  transform young India with their holistic  business approach.  It  is  high  time  we must define   their  role  for transforming   new India and should  know  how to channelize their positive energy  for nation building through responsible and ethical business approach.

We  need to understand that  its  not that important that  how much money  India Inc. are spending on the name of  Corporate Social Responsibility programmes,  but more important is that  how  they are making money. Should we expect  our  regulatory bodies  to  keep a honest check on  these CSR activities  and its  guidelines will give  them (Govt. official) another opportunity to sit on board with corporate and  work on strategic   link to divert  these funds.

Only  solution, I could see here is  that  India  need  powerful, conscious , sensitive  and  aware   consumers, shareholders and stakeholder who must  take  stand on their own to decide   to deal with  that company. If needed, we all as responsible consumer  should  boycott the products and  services of  such unethical companies  and pressurise  Govt. and regulatory bodies  to have   third party and independent social auditors and carry ahead impact assessment  on  what these companies are doing with their CSR funds and what is their social ROI (return on investment ) in terms of making social impact,  should  be justified.

Anil Jaggi is the associate editor at INDIACSR. He can be reached at anil@indiacsr.in

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