As many as 16,500 companies in India fall under the purview of mandatory corporate social responsibility (CSR) norms, posing a challenge not only for those engaging in such causes for the first time but also others in terms of effective implementation and reporting, experts maintain.
"Companies have good intention to spend on CSR but are not able to manage the entire CSR lifecycle," said Parul Soni, global managing partner with Thinkthrough Consulting Global, which specialises in social development initiatives.
"They are unable to find good implementing partners -- those who are able to understand the vision of the company," Soni told a seminar co-hosted by the National HRD Network (NHRDN) and Thinkthrough Consulting.
"There is an immediate need to develop the capacity of the implementing partners across different domains so that they can sustainably implement the CSR vision of the company."
Stakeholders told the seminar that despite India emerging as one of the fast-growing economies, millions of Indians still live in abject poverty, putting the corporate sector under severe scrutiny due to such uneven development.
With Section 135 of the Companies Act, 2013 laying down the rules for CSR, the seminar focused on "From Act to Action" towards better implementation of the mandate given to the corporate sector, as also to prepare a blue print for the road ahead.
"CSR needs to focus on issues related to women empowerment, child nutrition. We say our children are the future of this country! Let's collectively make an effort to keep our future well nourished at an early age, as most of their growth happens during the first few years," Lalitha Kumarmangalam, chairperson of National Commission for Women, said.
"Also let's rise & contribute towards the women empowerment by ensuring financial independence, instilling soft skills and by making them technology savvy," she added.
Most NGO's or foundations for social welfare, are run by people with good intentions but the lack of execution and insufficient co-ordination with the corporates is not getting them the respect they deserve, K Ramkumar, national president NHRDN and executive director ICICI Bank said.
"It is this mismatch which is making the funds fall through the cracks."
--Indo-Asian News Service ap-ag/vm
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