Beyond cheque book philanthropy
Long before the Indian Government made CSR work mandatory, Corporate Social Responsibility was already textured into the values system of several companies. As early as the 1940s, the noted philanthropist and industrial giant, late GD Birla, espoused the concept of investing a portion of company profits for the larger good of society. Others like the Tata Group, the Wipro and the Infosys, to name a few prominent ones, have also been involved in serving the community since their inception.
However, CSR has been taken more seriously in India after the Corporate Social Responsibility law came into effect in April 2014. Propelled by this impetus, a lot of good work for social causes is being done by Corporate India with the CSR finding a permanent place in approximately 16,000 company boardrooms.
Today, corporates are working in the hinterlands of India to bring about a positive change in the life of the underprivileged sections of society. They are reaching out to crores of people in villages, of whom more than 60 per cent live below the poverty line, and are addressing their needs of access to clean water, profitable agriculture, sustainable livelihood, healthcare and education.
The corporates have not restricted themselves only to the development of rural India, but are also working towards making a difference in the lives of poor urban people as well as ensuring that they do their bit to reduce carbon footprint.
To acknowledge the efforts of the corporates in transforming India and making the country a better place to live in, Bureaucracy Today instituted the BT-CSR Excellence Awards. The first edition of the Awards saw an overwhelming response with over 350 companies pitching for the prestigious honour in 35 categories, including the Swachh Bharat, Skill India, Women Empowerment, Eradicating Poverty and Promotion of Healthcare. Through the BT platform, Corporate India highlighted the extraordinary social tasks being performed by them which are bringing smiles to the faces of the downtrodden.
The BT-CSR Excellence Awards 2016 function held on July 14 in New Delhi was not just about recognising the socially responsible practices of big business but it was also about building platforms to learn, share and encourage the CSR initiatives. The Awards function honoured the India Inc honchos and PSU officials and offered them a unique and rare opportunity to project their organisations’ commitment to social responsibility and showcase their CSR achievements which in turn would further strengthen their corporate image.
Though only 34 companies of the 350 could make it to the final, all the participants were the winners as they have been able to win the smiles and touch the hearts of thousands of underprivileged people.