Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) plays a very important role in the development of a country. A country with capitalists that are socially and environmentally conscious not only improve the economy of the country but also takes the society along with it in its path to progress. CSR contribution is not beneficial only in monetary terms. Its main purpose is the utilization of the experience and expertise of businesses to address major national issues.
CSR has been prevalent in India since it has been mandated under Companies Act 2013. India Inc. has very enthusiastically participated in various social projects addressing core issues of the country. In October 2019, the Government of India conducted National CSR Awards for the first time in order to recognize the efforts of these corporates. At the event, 19 corporates were awarded and 19 others received a special mention for their CSR activities in three categories.
In the awards, the government has recognized National Priority Areas for CSR Spending, and awarded nine corporates for spending in these areas. These are the areas which according to the government are vital to national development. Some of these areas include:
It has been rightly said that education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today. Education has been placed in the National Priority Areas list considering its importance for securing the tomorrow of the country.
Skill Development and Livelihoods
Un-employability of the workforce has been a major reason for unemployment in the country. It is important to reduce unemployment rates in order to grow the economy. This is why skill development missions have been included in the priority list.
Agriculture and Rural Development
Majority of the population of India still reside in the rural areas and are heavily dependent upon agriculture or related vocations. In order to meet the target of becoming a five trillion-dollar economy, it is important to empower this population and improve their standard of living by increasing their income. Government has included this in the National Priority Area list because CSR can efficiently address the problems of this segment by helping them with technology, knowledge and expertise.
Health, Safe Drinking Water and Sanitation
A country cannot develop until and unless it has a healthy populace. While the government is working heavily towards ensuring basic healthcare to the citizens of the country by its various schemes such as Ayushman Bharat, Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, etc. it needs the corporates to step in for greater coverage, efficiency and improved research and development in the health and sanitation sector.
Environment, Sustainable Development and Solar Energy
Pollution has been a major cause of deaths and disability in India in 2017. In order to check this, the government considers it important to walk on the path to development that is sustainable and not harmful to the environment. In fact, the supreme court of India has recognised the Right to a Safe Environment as a fundamental right under Right to Life. It therefore makes sense for the government to include environment conservation in the priority list.