Variety

Corporate social responsibility is in DNA of public sector units

Vinson Kurian | Updated on July 29, 2011

Mr Alkesh Kumar Sharma, MD, Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation



There has been a commotion in corporate circles in recent times, what with the Centre making it mandatory for companies to disclose to shareholders whether they have used 2 per cent of net profits for activities related to corporate social responsibility (CSR).

The Companies Bill, 2009 retains the provision of 2 per cent of the average profit of the preceding three years for CSR, which seems to have made the corporate sector sit up, take notice and ready itself to fall in line.

EVOLVING SCENARIO

Public-sector companies seem to be watching the evolving scenario with interest as private-sector counterparts tie themselves into knots interpreting the law, analysing costs implications and reflecting on the job at hand — of not just breaking into nickels and dimes the nitty-gritty of ‘public service' but also of the obligation to be seen as doing as much and bringing themselves into account, no less.

Public-sector companies have had an ‘early-bird' advantage in the sense that ‘public service' is a mission ingrained into their DNA, says Mr Alkesh Kumar Sharma, Managing Director, Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation (KSIDC).

He explains that KSIDC has always fixed lending rates lower than market rates, apart from other incentives it offers to investors.

Public-sector companies have also been intervening in markets, whenever needed, in order to check prices in these times of hyper food-, non-food manufacturing- and wholesale- inflation.

MAJOR INTERVENTION

KSIDC is not willing to sit on its laurels and has instead proposed in its 50th year of inception a major societal intervention to provide free education to girls from poor families headed by widows, to be selected from all 14 districts in the State.

The idea is to sponsor daughters of destitute widows to enable them complete their studies till they complete a degree or professional course or attain the age of 21 years, whichever is earlier, Mr Sharma says.

For this purpose, children will be categorised in three groups, namely, (i) primary level; (ii) high-school or higher-secondary level; and (ii) degree or professional level.

A total of 50 students will be selected. Weightage will be given to families from backward districts.

MONTHLY PAYOUT



The project envisages a monthly payment of Rs 1,500 a child at the primary level, that is, from class one to seven. When children reach high school, they will be paid Rs 3,000 a month.

At the degree or professional level, the payment will be enhanced to Rs 24,000 a semester.

School-going children will get the amount in each term. Financial assistance thus granted may be utilised for paying tuition fee or hostel fee or both, buying study materials and uniform.

15-YEAR SCHEME



The expenditure shown in the box will be incurred during 15 years from now. Therefore, the average annual expenditure would be Rs 16.6 lakh, Mr Sharma adds.

The list of beneficiaries belonging to such families has been obtained from the Revenue and Social Welfare Departments through district collectors taking into account the socio-economic condition of the family.

Published on July 29, 2011

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