Friday, November 13, 2015

CSR India Inc - A Review

Recently I came across an infographic in a report by for Company Annual Reports that showed the distribution of CSR spent by India Inc on various sections of ‘Schedule VII’ under CSR that concerned me, as with great effort, I have put behind the fact that the overall performance of Indian Corporate Sector in its first year of CSR implementation is far from satisfactory, let alone significant, the reports of whatever is claimed to be done under CSR made me more worried. However, the same report has a very insightful illustration of CSR tree, I must say!

Most of the tycoons are taking the safest route of empowering ‘Education’ with infrastructure level developments without much probing into the quality, intent and content of the education that is being offered. Health is another soft target as it is easier to send some Ambulances in remote places and conduct vaccination drives than actually investigating the root causes of diseases, removing those and supporting health and hygiene by awareness and preventive healthcare. And the Third major sector of Community Development is doing a good job for Self-help groups and local employment so to say; however it’s a long way to go for achieving a nation of clusters of self-contained villages that are Independent in function yet Integrated in identity.

Unless and until we take CSR to the boardroom for the Strategic Planning, nothing can make much difference in the situation globally and in India particularly. We should start thinking of core business strategies from the CSR point of view and apply all available technology like Big Data to get the realistic figures of everything concerned, to begin with. As far as this infographic suggests, we are spending hardly 1% each on Agriculture, Art, Children, Culture, Elderly, Infrastructure and Vocational Skills. And almost 15% on Education and Health separated from Children and Culture or Elderly for that matter. While ideally we should have an initial breakdown of every single CSR Rupee as follows, I believe - Agriculture – 25%, Vocational Skills – 20%, Infrastructure – 15%, Children – 10%, Community Development – 10%, Environment – 10%, Art and Culture – 5% and Elderly – 5%.

My infographic has some presumptions as well as hypothesis based on the collective wisdom and conventional intelligence humans have inherited from their ancestors. Farming is the first ‘Invention’ by humans that separated the species from others in the physical reality of being. That makes ‘Agriculture’ the primeval ‘industry’ on the rise of which every other industry built its foundation. The imminent downfall of this fundamental industry has the potential to reverse the giant wheel of development as; however developed human brain could be, it is capable of cloning only living beings but not crops and vegetables. Experiment of genetically modified vegetables has already proved to be a disaster and human liver is yet to mature enough to actually digest the currency even it could do so in the figurative manner! So till the point we enter the age of ‘Demolition Man’, we will have to depend on food, alas!

It won’t take a Management Guru to establish the fact that in whatever circumstances, ‘Agriculture’ cannot be the ‘only’ industry and all other industries would need skilled manpower, hence the skill development. Infrastructure undoubtedly forms the backbone of any development and its importance is unprecedented. If we take care of our children (not ‘raise’, ‘develop’ or ‘condition’ them, mind you!), they will take care of themselves and ours as well as the future and environment; sustainability is no different! Health goes in with 'Children' only as it is common sense that a child with an immaculate body, responsive mind and generous soul will not only have a healthy life but will ensure a healthy environment around that would facilitate the Community Development. Art and Culture is the Second legacy of humans that make them standout from other animals. It needs to be inherited religiously, reinvented profusely and respected dutifully. Taking care of Elderly with respect and dignity is just an expression of culture!

This distribution of CSR resources should be monitored, checked, reviewed and revised vis-à-vis the progress report of the projects undertaken on annual basis. All this might sound very idealistic and romantic to an instantaneous and capitalist mentality, but justice and love both are blind and hold a sword and a rose in hand respectively! Way to go…

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