Opinion

More CSR avenues

AB Sivakumar | Updated on January 12, 2018 Published on June 07, 2017

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Transport, education, waste management, etc.

The idea of corporate social responsibility (CSR) has now moved away from mere donations or running a charity organisation to a much more serious plane. Several companies now put in a lot of thinking before carrying out CSR activities in their neighbourhood, in line with the statutorily mandated 2 per cent of their profits.

That said, CSR has to move far beyond immediate neighbourhoods, to collaborate actively with public and private sector organisations for carrying out bigger development projects that can deliver far-reaching results, impacting a much wider range of the populace.

Let’s look at some such areas of collaboration.

Transport ties

The Railways faces a cash crunch. Why not allow big corporate groups to simply take over the entire maintenance of trains, including change of toilet infrastructure, seats and fans and air-conditioning equipment, at regular intervals?

Companies can hire hands at fairly decent wages and get the job done easily, offering long-term benefits. This can help improve maintenance and operation of trains vastly. For example, a Chennai-based consortium of companies take care of the maintenance of prestigious trains such as GT and Tamil Nadu expresses, enjoying free advertising rights on the exteriors of such trains. This should be a pan-India initiative.

Water, waste management

Companies can collaborate with organisations that offer better water management practices, waste water management, reviving green covers and so on. They can also seek voluntary mobilisation of students to execute such missions. Imagine the cumulative benefits of such contributions from each and every corporate organisation to this noble cause, at a national level.

Medical care

A consortium of corporate organisations can pool money to buy sophisticated life-saving equipment and donate them to government hospitals. Corporates can also help develop parks, tourist spots and even environs of temples that see huge crowds daily. Recycling waste water generated by organisations for agriculture purposes is another urgent imperative.

Collaborating in education

Companies such as Wipro have been working with Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh governments for several years now, to improve educational standards in government schools.

An urgent priority is the need to improve both the spoken and written skills, in English, of thousands of graduates. This will help close the employability gap. Corporate organisations should go in for massive “Training the Trainer” programmes for teachers in public and private sector schools.

Once a beginning is made, communication of the initiative’s goals and objectives should be done on a very systematic basis, particularly through the social media.

The writer is a management consultant

Published on June 07, 2017
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