While the Government has launched several initiatives to promote inclusive growth, the private sector has a major role to play in this endeavour said Pranab Mukherjee, President of India. He was speaking at the inaugural session of the National Summit on CSR – Partnering the National Agenda, organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in partnership with the National Foundation for Corporate Governance (NFCG) in New Delhi today.
Showing confidence in industry’s ability and commitment to the cause of CSR, he said Industry will be a more than able partner to the Government, stressing that Indian industry must use its strength and competencies and lend its expertise to a wider array of programmes, which would impact society.
A one-size-fits-all approach, he elaborated, will not work and industry should identify issues relevant to different regions and help address those. CSR today refers to a comprehensive sense of responsibility extending beyond the responsibility to shareholders, he added.
The mandatory spend on CSR will generate a huge amount, and structured development of strategy is now required to ensure that the funds are used optimally.
The President unveiled the logo of Sammaan: The CSR Exchange, a joint initiative of the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and Indian Institute of Corporate Affairs (IICA). Designed as a platform to facilitate interactive collaboration on Corporate Social Responsibility, the BSE enabled technology platform will bring together the strength of CII's member corporate base and the Implementation Agency Hub (IA Hub) of the IICA.
S. Ramadorai, Chairman, National Skill Development Agency and National Skill Development Corporation and Non-Executive Chairman, BSE mentioned that Samman was the world’s first CSR exchange and will facilitate CSR initiatives of corporates.
Anjuly Chib Duggal, Secretary, Ministry of Corporate Affairs, said that while CSR initiatives by corporates have been an ongoing activity, the intent of the CSR provision in the Companies Act is to institutionalise the focus on giving back to society with the hope that this focus translates into projects where industry uses its management strategies to identify and implement programmes.
Earlier in his address, Sumit Mazumder, President, CII, said that while some countries continue to reel under economic stress, India is projected to grow at 7.5% according to IMF and World Bank estimates, and in such a scenario, there is greater responsibility to ensure that as the nation moves forward, the benefits of prosperity reach all. He said CII is aware of the role the corporate sector has to play in this, and thus its Theme for 2015-16: Build India – Invest in Development, A Shared Responsibility.
Rakesh Bharti Mittal, Chairman, CII National CSR Summit 2015, said that over the last few years, the Government’s perception of the role of industry has changed and India Inc has proactively taken up and participated in several Government initiatives, adding that this Summit was an initiative to create a strong, sustainable movement for inclusive growth.
Dr Raghupati Singhania, Co-Chairman, CII National CSR Summit 2015, said that CSR has now moved from the backroom to the Boardroom, adding that CII has always believed very strongly that inclusive growth is necessary for sustainable development and equitable distribution of wealth. He said it was critically important to build capability of CSR practitioners, NGOs, grass-roots level people for all sections of society to benefit.
CII Director General, Chandrajit Banerjee, said that CSR has always been a part of the Indian ethos, and that it is heartening to see that over the years, structured CSR activities have gained momentum.
He spoke of CII’s initiatives towards CSR, notably the CII Foundation, the CII-ITC Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Development and the CII-Sohrabji Godrej Green Business. The CII Foundation, an initiative of CII, helps connect the marginalised to donors and works in diverse areas such as women empowerment and sanitation to name a few. He also mentioned CII’s initiatives in areas such as maternal and child health, education, renewable energy, disaster relief and rehabilitation and said CII is currently deeply involved in relief work in Nepal.
(News courtesy: cii.in)