KUMARHATTI: Even as good number of big corporate houses has set up their units in and around Baddi, the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) was one thing that that has remained on low priority till now. Ironically the majority of units were getting benefits of liberal industrial policies of government but no one seemed to be taking care of CSR required in a backward state like Himachal.
As per information available, out of around 650 units in Baddi belt hardly 15 units share something towards Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) that too on very low level. In fact the lack of CSR activities by units have sparked a wide spread criticism among people of state.
Says Mr. Hitendra Patial, according to me Baddi is emerging good for nothing. We are deteriorating our state and by these business houses. The Himachal canâ€™t get any thing but made these places worse like Gurgaon. The state needs development in tourism as per its location and village tourism, he adds.
As per Mr. Raj Sharma, the state government has an important role in promoting, developing and ensuring continuous improvement in the business contribution toward the three main pillars – economic, social and environmental â€“ for a healthy sustainable development. Looking at above role of the government certainly, Himachal government should play a significant role in CSR align to industrial development of the state, points out Mr. Sharma.
â€œIn fact, vision of the state government is clear to develop business activities but at certain extent impacts of the business activities on social and environmental issue has been neglected by state government.â€
â€œIn my opinion, Himachal government should incorporate assurance standards, norms for each kind of business activities that has been developed in and around Baddi. As per my knowledge, even though standards such as ISO 9000, ISO 14000 etc are well understood and accepted by HP Government industrial department, but still accountability of proper facts is not reported to public or no accountability is set with state Government policies.
There are a couple of important issues and my recommendation. First, organisations have been operating in a round Baddi should come to accept special quality policies that HP government need to enforce for the betterment of CSR standards. A kind of system must be implemented for each corporate to get certify each year that can be presented as ‘proof’ of some kind of achievement in CSR by each organization. Secondly, these certification systems require significant level of public disclosure and media disclosure where government role and organisations’ responsibilities get certified.â€
Public reporting and associated assurance requires transparency of anything, says Mr. Sharma, which has enforced on each corporate. The HP Government should set up a standard technical committee to monitor and evaluate criteria of corporate assurance in fact; modern innovation and challenges of 21st century must be taken care in CSR standards rather traditional accountabilities that are no longer fit for this purpose, he maintains.
Above, whatever I have described should be free from bureaucratic excess and decay, if not outright greed and corruption. The HP government should initiate CSR activities in varieties of areas such as: Sustainable development, Biodiversity, Climate change, Energy efficiency , Waste management, Sustainable transport, Employee’s education and training, Enterprise in Education , Volunteering and Employees’ health at Work, suggests Mr. Sharma.
All companies in Himachal have been playing a vital role as employment and wealth creator but they are also part of the society, and can reasonably be expected to share and reflect its values to the social, assets Mr. Raj Sharma
Trust me conditions in Baddi belt are just pathetic what to think of CSR, remarks Mr. Praveen Chaudhary. I think to set up such an industrial area, state should have robust infrastructure around. There should be clear cut policies in place before any one set up an industry in Baddi. There should be defined minimum wages, law and order insured, environment protection measures, and accommodation facilities for many of the Himachalis working there.
Mr. Chaudhary says, many boys from my own village have come back from Baddi, complaining that work & living conditions in Baddi are intolerable. The state is known for its natural beauty, if we can not improve it lets not do things that degrades it. Last but not least we must insure that out of this industrialization the Himachalis shall get benefited, he concludes.
As per Mr. Ramit Mahajan views, Baddi is emerging as an industrial area and a good source of employment. CSR is not something we have seen with traditional Indian companies. However, with the new age companies and also the advent of transnational companies setting up shop, there is a visible change now in CSR.
Clearly Baddi is behind the more established industrial hubs, but I think given some time, it will definitely catch up. From my experience, if the heads of companies are exposed to the goodwill they can create for their companies through CSR, it will work wonders to accelerate the effort in Baddi. There are ample options, points out Mr. Mahajan who himself employed in a Gurgaon based company.
He says, here is what my company is involved in: We have adopted an NGO run school in Gurgaon. Once a quarter, each employee dedicates an entire day at the school painting classrooms, organizing health check ups for children, teaching some basic subjects, taking children to museums etc. We also have a heavy involvement with National Association for Blind, Delhi. There are ongoing activities that we do along with them. We have competitions among various offices of our company and recognize the most dedicated employees. This recognition comes from the highest levels.
It has to be a dedicated effort with the top management buy in and cannot be sporadic. There are employees who take up such activities on a regular basis and we also hold reviews on progress. The government can play a big role in bringing about awareness by recognizing companies putting extra efforts towards CSR. It works in bigger cities. It can easily work in Baddi. The HP govt is lesser exposed to this because Baddi is probably is the first dedicated industrial belt. I am sure they will evolve as well, opines Mr. Mahajan
If expertise in Industrial sector is going to be exhausted in struggle for basic resources than it is crime, maintains Mr. Rajesh Kalla. Yes, Baddi is dedicated for Industrialization but what is the state of affairs? Every body is struggling for survival rather than for growth. If we fail to plan, we plan to fail, he asserts. No fun in fighting the lost battle, this is what I think. No point in breaking the head where wall is not soft. Mind it these are not mere words, I have experienced the heat. Any way let us join to deliver the results, says Mr. Kalla.