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Unpacking the Scope of Corporate Social Responsibility in India

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is easy to discuss in the abstract but much more work to implement.

What is CSR? And why is it such a big deal in India? CSR is the idea that companies are responsible to society, not just their shareholders and employees. CSR includes philanthropy, sustainable business practices, and human rights advocacy.

In India, CSR has risen as companies have become more aware of their social and environmental responsibilities in recent years.


What is the CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) in India?

“So, what’s the CSR percentage in India?” you ask. Interestingly, the percentage of companies practicing CSR in India is relatively high, at around 95%. CSR is much higher than the global average of about 50%.

In addition, the Indian states with the highest percentage of companies practicing CSR are Maharashtra (100%) and Gujarat (99%). And finally, CSR is tax-free in India.


What is the current status of CSR in India?

From the perspective of an Indian company, what is the scope of CSR? CSR, or corporate social responsibility, is the business practice of voluntarily contributing to various social and environmental causes.

In India, CSR has been mandatory for companies with a net worth of Rs 500 crore or more, or a turnover of Rs 1,000 crore or more, since April 2014. The government issued these guidelines to promote corporate responsibility and improve transparency among businesses.

So far, the response to CSR in India has been mixed. While some companies see it as a way to give back to society, others see it as an unnecessary expense. There are also concerns that CSR programs are only sometimes successful or influential in India.


What percentage of Indian companies disclose their CSR spending as mandated by Indian law?

Regarding Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), India is a paradox. Although CSR is not mandatory in India, most Indian companies do disclose their CSR spending. India was the first country to make CSR mandatory for certain companies, and this has enhanced the firm value in India.


Let’s look at the challenges and opportunities faced by companies with CSR initiatives in India.

On the positive side, Indian companies have been very proactive with their CSR activities, committing to poverty alleviation, education, and healthcare projects. Additionally, India’s legislative framework is commendable and provides ample opportunities for companies to undertake meaningful CSR activities.

However, due to a need for more awareness among the local population and existing social divides, there are still significant challenges that companies have to overcome while undertaking CSR initiatives. For instance, sensitizing employees on social issues requires targeted campaigns that can take time. Additionally, there is a need for better coordination between public and private stakeholders to ensure the large-scale success of such initiatives.


Describing what Indian Companies are doing in their share of CSR

To understand the scope of corporate social responsibility in India, let’s look at where Indian companies are doing their part. While there is still a long way to go, some companies are taking meaningful steps in the right direction.

For example, many IT-sector companies actively utilize CSR to promote innovation and social reform in India. This includes investments in education initiatives like providing laptops to students and setting up computer training centers to bridge the digital divide.

Other Indian companies are taking on projects to improve local infrastructure and provide necessities like clean water and transportation. Such projects contribute to job growth, environmental sustainability, and overall social well-being in the communities they serve.

These programs demonstrate a genuine commitment from Indian businesses toward making an impact in the CSR space—an impact that could lead to a more equitable future for all Indians.

So, while it is clear that Indian companies have a long way to go in entirely embracing CSR, several noteworthy initiatives are taking place across the country. Focusing on these initiatives and developing CSR in India can create a more sustainable and equitable future for all.

Read more Companies have taken up road safety as a part of their CSR

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