1st National CSR Conclave Generates Enthusiasm for Private Sectors Role

Union Corporate Affairs Minister Dr. M.Veerappa Moily has called for making country’s growth more inclusive – a growth that benefits all regions and all sections of our society, particularly the poor and the under-privileged. Dr. Moily was addressing the 1st National Conclave on Corporate Social Responsibility here in New Delhi today. He said Corporates’ social responsibility is a matter intrinsically ingrained in the Constitution of India which envisages an economic development that does not result in the concentration of wealth and means of production to the common detriment and that material resources of the community are so distributed as best to subserve the common good.

The minister said Corporates can bring in social progress and get support from the society when they make use of the resources, expertise and innovative techniques that would benefit the society. Our Corporate culture must be attuned to the universally accepted values of good governance – accountability, transparency, responsibility and responsiveness to stake holders. Our corporate endeavours have to be consonant with the demands of our eco system and the expectations of Indian democracy. The economic reforms of the last two decades have opened up many new opportunities. But just as over bearing controls stifle initiative; dogmatic adherence to extreme models of non-regulation can also be disruptive to sustainable growth. Ours is the middle path. We believe we must trust Corporate India as indeed you must trust us.

He said good governance and credibility are key requirement for attracting investment. In this regard his ministry has been pursuing the agenda of providing an effective regulatory framework to the Indian corporate sector that enables them to freely exploit their entrepreneurial energies whilst contributing to the overall growth of the society. Corporate governance and corporate social responsibility are already part of Ministry’s domain. The Administrative Reforms Commission has given an effective and comprehensive blue print for reforming governance.

Dr. Moily said his ministry has recently released the National Voluntary Guidelines on Social, Environmental and Economic responsibilities of Business mainstreaming the concept of Business Responsibilities. The new guidelines build upon the Corporate Social Responsibility Voluntary Guidelines released in 2009, reflect a conscious shift from what is generally termed as CSR to a more encompassing concept of “Responsible Business.” These guidelines have been formulated keeping in view the diverse sectors within which businesses operate, as well as the wide variety of business organizations that exist in India today – from the small and medium enterprises to large corporate organizations. From the enunciation of basic Principles to defining a broad set of Indicators for self-assessment, it also provides a Reporting framework for making disclosures to stakeholders. These guidelines mark an important first step towards a movement for greater corporate contribution in creating societal welfare.

The minister said Government is not in favour of imposing its views on thee corporate sector and therefore has not made it mandatory for it to spend 2% of companies’ net profot towards CSR. However in the Companies Bill 2011 the government has proposed that companies should earmark 2% of average profits of the preceding three years for CSR activities and make a disclosure to the shareholders about the policy adopted in the process.

The One day Conclave was organized by the Indian Institute of Corporate Affairs (IICA),an autonomous body under the Ministry of Corporate Affairs as a prelude to the India Corporate Week( 6th-13th February, 2012), the annual event organized by Ministry of Corporate Affairs which brings together corporates representing diverse sectors and different regions of the country. The main objective of the 1st National CSR Conclave was to share the perspective of the private sector on CSR with the select gathering and also to learn about some of the good practices being undertaken by corporates in this regard.

The other dignitaries present were Sh. Naved Masood, Secretary, Ministry of Corporate Affairs; Dr. Bhaskar Chatterjee, DG & CEO, IICA; Ms. Indrani Kar, Deputy Director General, CII; Ms. Susmita Shekhar, Secretary General, PHDCCI; Ms Preeti Malhotra, Chairperson, National Council for Corporate Affairs and CSR, ASSOCHAM; Dr. Rana Kapoor, Founder, Managing Director and CEO, YES Bank, Sh. Bharat Wakhlu, Resident Director, TATA and Ms. Nirupama Kotru, Director, Ministry of Corporate Affairs.

During the Conclave two technical sessions on the CSR Best Practices saw presentations by various companies like Bharti Foundation, INTEL, TATA, I.T.C. Welcomgroup, Jubilant Life Sciences Ltd., Yes Bank Ltd, KPMG etc. These discussions were highly interactive and generated keen interest among the participants, which included people from large, medium as well as small level corporate sector entities, civil society , several national and regional media groups, officials from the Ministry of Corporate Affairs and other organizations working in the field of CSR, . The technical sessions were chaired by Sh. Manoj Chakravarti, Chief Operations Officer, Centre for Corporate Governance and Citizenship, IIM Bangalore and Sh. Bharat Wakhlu, Resident Director, TATA.

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