Union Heavy Industries Minister Praful Patel today batted in favour of making CSR (corporate social responsibility) spends mandatory for private companies , saying it is necessary for the upliftment of people.   “I think the corporate sector cannot avoid the responsibility of bringing about change in our country and should support initiatives not only of the government but also outside the government,” Patel told reporters here.

“It is not the government’s responsibility alone which can ensure change in our country…corporate sector (should also help),” Patel said, after inaugurating the National CSR Hub at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences here.

Patel’s remarks come within a month of Corporate Affairs Minister Murli Deora favouring CSR spends of 2 per cent of net profits in the new Companies Bill. Deora’s comments were met with sharp criticism from India Inc, with many calling it as “retrograde”.

Speaking to reporters here today, Patel said the very purpose of mandating companies — both private and government-owned — is to deliver the benefits of overall economic progress which the country has made to the backward people.

He added the Department of Public Enterprises under his Ministry will be working “proactively” and will see to it that the state-owned companies meet their CSR targets.

Meanwhile, when asked if loss-making public sector carrier Air India should be declared as a sick company, the former Civil Aviation Minister said, “Let the ministry of Civil Aviation send a proposal before I can give you any comments.”

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