Giving Compass' Take:

• Dr. Arun Kumar discusses Corporate Social Responsibility in India and the importance of shifting focus to longterm sustainable social change.

• How can development coincide with CSR? How does holistic social change programs become appealing to Corporations?

Read more about catalyzing development in India with Corporate Social Responsibility.

The view that for-profit sector has a significant role to play in addressing societal concerns in India has gained momentum. It has coincided with the passing of the Indian Company’s Act in 2013, which mandates that: “…at least 2 percent of the average net profits of the company made during the three immediately preceding financial years” [must be spent] on “Corporate Social Responsibility” activities."

The mandate would see companies invest Rs 50,000 crores by March 2019. Looked in isolation, it may appear as a big amount poured in the development bucket. However, in relation to achieving any of the Sustainable Development Goals, this amount is a tiny fraction of the required sum.

One concern is about Corporates’ understanding of, and commitment to, social change per se. Typically, social change is a complex inter-generational process. It invariably includes changes at: personal (behaviour and practice), social (values and social relations) and systemic (policy) levels. How many Corporate engagements do we know of where all these elements are touched upon?  Probably very few. One of the leading concerns about their decision to support a social cause is that the Corporates generally do not prefer complex and long interventions. A holistic intervention, which is more likely to result in sustainable change, often falls short in winning their trust and support.

Certain Corporates and individual philanthropists have begun to push the envelope of engagement with social issues for others to feel inspired, and follow. Azim Premji Philanthropic Initiatives Pvt. Ltd leads the way. There seems to be a concerted effort to take ‘philanthropy for impact’ to a new level. What is equally reassuring is that some Corporate individuals and houses have begun to see the significance of the development sector work in a more strategic way, leading them to invest in capacitating the sector itself.

Read the full article about Corporate Social Responsibility in India by Dr. Arun Kumar at CSR Mandate.