Corporate Social Responsibility
Great opportunity and an excellent topic to speak on. Go ahead and do a good job. Can indicate a few inputs.
Usha and I jointly wrote a paper on this topic and it was published by a Hyderabad Management Magazine. In this, we have brought out the Indian environment, where CSR is not only commendable, but both essential and relevant for corporate existence itself. You cannot muddy the waters you drink from, it will ruin your health and life itself. This is true of the community in which Corporates operate in whatever they do, procurement, employement, training, selling, advertising etc. As Gandhiji used to say, the Society is the cause for business to exist and to survive. As you care for Society, so does it reciprocate. This will also help to ensure that there is a degree of fairness in everything said, done and practised in Sociey, which, in turn, will help orderly and systematic progress of Society itself. Therefore, every acivity of any kind has a social background, a social beginning, social existence and social goal. Corporates, like Governments, can ignore Society and their responsonsibilities only at their peril. See what is happening in Pakistan now, where a Canadian Moslem Cleric is agitating against the Government, also what happened recently in Tunisia, Eygypt, other Moslem countries and in Male.
If Governments are rich, corruption -free and attitudinally friendly to fellow-beings, then it makes things easier. Corporates only have to pay taxes and Governments ensure social well-being. But, when Governments are corrupt - as in India - Corporates cannot sit and only watch, helplessly , what happens around them on the social front. Their duty is not done when taxes are paid. Where Governments fail in their social responsibilities, Corporates have to step in and make up the deficit, at least in the neighbourhood. A former Indian PM, Rajiv Gandhi said on record, that only 17 percent of the money spent on Social Welfare Schemes, reached the deserving people, the rest pocketed by the politicians and the administrative system that administers it.
As far as Reliance Industries is concerned, you get all the required details from their published Balance Sheets. The one for 2011-12, at pages 51 to 56 gives impressive details of what all are done, and waiting to be done. You can update this, by getting details of current activities.
You should ask Usha to give you the reference to the Magazine, where our piece was published. Would need to discuss this topic further, when you are free.
I am quite excited about the topic itself, wish were young and get the opportunity that you are getting!
17th January, 2013