The pandemic has pushed the worldwide economy into a recession, which suggests the economy starts shrinking and growth stops. It additionally had a great impact on Indian government funds. Through this blog, I have tried to focus on the event of CSR practice over the last few years and the role of CSR in the fights against the COVID-19, both financial and non-financial.
CSRdefinition has developed with time since Milton Friedman’s ill-famed declaration in the New York time 1970 that “the social responsibility of a business is to increase its profits.” compare to this present era definition, “CSR is a management concept whereby companies integrate social and environmental concerns in their business operation and interaction with their stakeholders”. Corporate behaviour should change with the changing time and exploitation of resources in the society along with environmental injury should also be taken into thought.
COVID-19 is a worldwide pandemic contemplate by the World Health Organisation (WHO). It is a communicable sickness that had enormously damaged the socio-economic structure of every country. The government of India had announced the lockdown in the entire country in March 2020, to promote social distancing, which is the only method to help people stop the spread of coronavirus. But extended lockdown damaged economic troubles. A large population and an absence of awareness added to the problems.
To promote distancing and meet economic crises, here CSR played a major role in this time of the pandemic when people are trying their level best to get through the challenging time. But before we discuss this, we need to understand the evolution of CSR in India and the step taken by the government to promote CSR in India.
EVOLUTION OF CSR IN INDIA
In the traditional era, it had been believed that it is the moral responsibility of the corporate tofu filets social obligation, subject to the financial capability of the company. Essentially, it was taken as a philanthropic activity. In the early ’90s, Mahatma Gandhi introduced the concept of trusteeship helping socio-economic growth. CSR in India was influenced by family values, tradition, culture, and religion.
With the CompaniesAct 2013, India had made CSR activity mandatory in every business establishment within the territory of India.
Section 135 applies to the companies which have an annual turnover of Rs. 1,000 crore or more or a net worth of Rs. 500 crore or more or a net profit of Rs. 5 crores or more. Companies meeting the above criteria required to spend a minimum of 2% of their average net
Profit for its preceding three financial year’s amount on CSR activities and report on the activities detailed in Schedule V11. This provision makes India the only country in the world that makes both the spending and reporting of CSR obligation mandatory. Also, mere donation and charity with no strategic benefit are not permissible under CSR. There should be a concerted effort to define broad areas under schedule VII of the company’s act.
To promote social support from different companies, the Government of India had issued a circular on March 23, 2020, the Ministry of Corporate Affairs circular, which says that all the expenditure incurred on activities related to COVD-19 would be added as permissible avenues for CSR expenditure.
Funds spent for various activities related to COVD-19, under the following items of Schedule VII are:
- Eradicating hunger
- Promoting healthcare contribution to the Swachh Bharat Kosh set up by the Centre for promoting sanitation and making available safe drinking water
- Disaster management, including relief, rehabilitation, and reconstruction activities
The above circular was welcomed by Corporate India and Crore has been donated to the various corporate funds. Also, it was clarified by the government that any financial contribution made to any ‘Chief Ministry’s Relief Fund’ or ‘State Relief Fund for COVD-19’ cannot be counted under CSR.
INITIATIVES BY COMPANIES TOWARD CSR RESPONSIBILITY
Ratan Tata & Tata Groups
One of the biggest recognized firms in India has made the biggest contribution toward the fight against Covid-19 disaster Rs. 1,500 crore.
Wipro, Azim Premji Foundation
Azim Premji, Wipro Limited, and Wipro Enterprises had jointly committed Rs.1,125 crore toward various healthcare measures in the wake of a deadly virus outbreak.
Mukesh Ambani’s the owner of Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) has announced an Rs. 500 crore donation toward PM-CARES fund. Earlier it had released a 100-bedded centre at Seven Hills Hospital in Mumbai.
Aditya Birla Group
It has committed Rs.500 crore toward tackling the Covid-19 crisis. Out of the total Rs., 400 crores will be donated to the PM-CARES fund and the rest amount will be used to support the creation of additional hospital infrastructure to tackle the virus outbreak.
The online payment firm has also launched several other initiatives to prevent coronavirus from spreading in India. The company has donated funds of Rs.500 crore for innovators who are developing medical instruments or medicines to combat the virus.
Recently Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman thanked PSBs for contributing Rs. 430 crore towards the PM-CARES Funds. HFC Group committed Rs.150 crore to the PM-CARES fund.
It said in the press “need to come forward” in the one gong fight against COVID-19. Bajaj also said that the group is working with the government and with over 200 NGOs in this pandemic. It has also contributed Rs. 100 crores in the pm-cares fund.
Uday Kotak had given around Rs 25 crore to the PM-CARES fund and create an announcement on Twitter “It is the time to protect lives and livelihood.”
Kotak Mahindra Bank, Piramal Group, Jindal Steel and Power, and TVS Group each company has also committed an amount of Rs 25 crore to the PM-CARES fund to tackle the COVID-19 crisis.
The Godrej Group HAS ALSO EARMARKED A FUND OF Rs 50 crore for community support and relief initiatives in wake of COVID-19.
The ICICI Group has contributed a total of Rs.100 crore out of which Rs 80 crore to the PM-CARES fund and Rs 20 crore to the state government, CISF, hospital, and police forces in terms of protective equipment.
SINCERITY IS THE KEY
The things will not work till and unless you inherit them. That is what the companies had shown in their work. The World Health Organization (WHO) had declared that to protect the expansion of this pandemic virus, we need to break the chain of expansion means “SOCIAL DISTANCING”. The social distancing implies to form the gap from one another in social and physical activity.
In the light of this several other firms had taken the initiative to form their customer and other people in the society aware of the importance of social distancing through their business strategy. The most remarkable contribution had made by McDonald’s, Audi, Coca-Cola, Volkswagen, and many more.
- McDonald’s, the most famous fast-food company, played an important role by dividing the logo ‘m’ into two parts ‘n n’. The two parts of represent the meaning of social distancing.
- Similarly, the logo of Audi is divided into separate rings and exploring the tagline “To keep distance”.
- Also, Volkswagen has presented its new logo by creating a gap between V and W.
- The Bengal Beverage company had shared a new logo with a gap in between with the message “Staying apart is the best way to stay united”
Also, NIKE, Amul, and many more companies had taken part in this pandemic to make people aware of the importance and need for social distancing. This step by the companies had a great impact on the fight against the COVI-19.
Thus, this exercise of those firms is an example of good governance.
The BESI of any country plays an important role in the financial stability of that country. From the above finding, we come to know the different activities performed by the banks in India. But still, its CSR practice is far from satisfactory.
Most of the companies use CSR practices as a donation to the charity fund, NGOs, sponsorship of the event, etc. those companies did not concern about moral obligation they should have toward society and the environment. Here we need to understand that CSR activity should use for the betterment of the country and not use as a marketing tool.
From the above research, we can conclude how companies can play an outstanding role to strengthen and foster their country and can bring a strong relationship between society and the organization. But if they focus on the area, the society needs rather than just making brand value or customer loyalty, it will turn into universal advancement of the country.
Author(s) Name: Simrandeep Kaur (Amity Law School, Noida)