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					     CSR ACTIVITIES BY NASSCOM MEMBERS: A REVIEW

Today, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has become a world-wide concept whereby
organizations consider the interests of society by taking responsibility for the impact of their
activities on customers, employees, shareholders, communities and the environment in all
aspects of their operations. CSR is defined by the World Business Council for Sustainable
Development as continuing commitment by business to believe ethically and contribute to
economic development while improving the quality of life of the workforce and their families
as well as of the local community and society at large.1


Indian is one of the sixth fastest growing economies and Indian IT/ITES industry’s are
pioneer in country’s growth whose contribution to the country’s GDP has been steadily
increasing from a share of 1.2% in FY98 to 5.2% in FY07; it has contributed to foreign
exchange reserves of the country by increasing exports by almost 36% and its direct
employment as grown at a CAGR of 26% in the last decade, making it the largest employer
in the organized private sector in the country.2 In the survey of 2008-09 ASSOCHAM study
revealed that a Share of ITES industry in CSR activities in the last year is only 8.18%.


NASSCOM is the premier trade body and the chamber of commerce of the IT-BPO industries
in India which has more than 1200 members including Indian and multinational companies
having presence in India. It was set-up in the year 1988 and aims to drive the overall growth
of the global off-shoring market & maintain India’s leadership position, by taking up the role
of a strategic advisor to the industry.


Through NASSCOM foundation (NF), it has been following the trends that are defining the
Corporate Social Responsibility landscape within the Indian IT-BPO industries. It is also
playing a key role in plugging some of prevalent loopholes by developing
transparent CSR monitoring mechanisms, building a repository of knowledge and best




1
  Business Role, at http://www.wbcsd.org/templates/TemplateWBCSD5/layout.asp?type=p&MenuId=MTE0OQ
(last visited 10 November, 2010).
2
  INDIAN IT/ITES INDUSTRY: IMPACTING ECONOMY AND SOCIETY 2007-08 1 (Nasscom Foundation, 2008).


          CSR ACTIVITIES BY NASSCOM MEMBERS; A REVIEW- BY ADITYA GARG
practices in CSR interventions, and creating awareness about global CSR standards, among
others.3At present, NF is involved in various CSR activities through direct or indirect ways;


It regularly conducts surveys to highlight the state of play of CSR within IT/ITES industry. 4
These surveys act as a report card of company to know the output of company’s CSR
activities. This report card helps companies in improvement of future objectives with regard
to better implementation of their CSR policies. Moreover, with the help of participants of
survey, NF found new innovative ways to reach masses through their activities.


    1. It also acts as an advisory mechanism for companies. Recently, it recommended the
        important steps to its members for making CSR activities more meaningful. It
        recommended companies for setting up a support infrastructure within their domains,
        or work with external intermediaries to lead the process and play the role of CSR
        mentors and as well as comply with global CSR standard.5 In present scenario only
        conducting CSR activities is not sufficient, its reporting at global and domestic level
        is of equal importance. NF foundation provides reporting mechanism to garner
        support for companies’ activities as well as for improvement of company’s image. It
        also organize seminars, conferences and training courses which provide platform to
        advance the cause of using information and communication technologies for
        development.
    2. NF usually prepares roadmap for work in particular financial year. In the current year,
        NF focused its work on creativity, Community, Collaboration, Adoption of Green IT,
        Societal Development and Education and Skill building. Recently, NASSCOM was
        entrusted by Ministry of Human Resource Development to prepare a Model Detailed
        Project for the IIIT initiatives.6 The report was submitted in 2008 and now
        NASSCOM is working for operationalize the report. It is also working for faculty
        development programme. NF through its knowledge network (NKN) is providing
        physical space for public access for educational, personal, social and economic

3
  Spreading the flame of CSR, http://www.Nasscom.in/Nasscom/templates/NormalPage.aspx?id=51200 (last
  visited 29 November, 2010).
4
  Indian Software And Services Exports Exceed Expectations,
  http://www.nasscom.in/Nasscom/templates/NormalPage.aspx?id=2638 (last visited 23 November, 2010).
5
  NASSCOM Foundation, February 2006, NASSCOM News line Issue No. 52,
  http://www.nasscom.in/Nasscom/Templates/NS-NewsLineLanding.aspx?id=11086 (last visited 23 November,
  2010).
6
  NASSCOM presents Model Detailed Project Report(DPR) for IIIT’s to Ministry of Human Resource
  Development (MHRD), http://www.nasscom.org/Nasscom/templates/NormalPage.aspx?id=53996 (last visited
  11 November, 2010).


          CSR ACTIVITIES BY NASSCOM MEMBERS; A REVIEW- BY ADITYA GARG
        development.7 Its big programme includes grass root marketing and communication
        for community development and information services. It is also helping different
        NGOs to have easier access to technology- both hardware and software. Its Big
        Bridge program aims to enable education, employability and entrepreneurship
        through computer donations.8 Its i- Get involved Programme focuses on defining the
        path by which companies can give back to society and contribute to its betterment.9

No doubt, NASSCOM foundation is doing many things but still a lot has to be done. The
following are the some of the challenges in implementing CSR intiatives.


These are: inefficient government, excessive population, lack of proper infrastructure etc. but
with regard to Indian context CSR is merely a philanthropic or charity activity, which merely
depends upon will of company management for eg- barring few companies like Tata, Infosys,
Wipro and others most companies do not seem to display social conscience that can be
evident from survey conducted in collaboration by UNDP, British Council and Federation of
Indian Industry in 2002 by which it was disclosed that very few companies are involved in
CSR activities which can be evident from the fact that in the survey 1,000 companies were
contacted but only 103 companies replied and even those have not properly disclosed their
CSR activities.10 Even many companies who pose themselves as contributor in CSR
initiatives are not real contributor of such activities. Such companies generally take the
benefit of efforts made by governmental and non-governmental organizations to present
themselves as well wisher of society or to show their sincerity about social activity.


The problem arise where there is no guidelines on the issue of CSR. In developing countries
like India, CSR activities are not mandatory for companies. These activities are simply the
voluntary efforts on the part of companies. Companies worked in different directions for their
own purposes with limited approach. Such working in different directions failed to yield
expected results from such activities. For fulfilling CSR missions and to create sustainable


7
  NASSCOM Foundation’s Knowledge Network takes Digital Revolution to Rural India,
   http://blog.nasscom.in/nasscomnewsline/2009/02/nasscom-foundation%E2%80%99s-knowledge-network-
   takes-digital-revolution-to-rural-india/ (last visited 3 November, 2010).
8
  Big Bridge Program, http://www.nasscomfoundation.org/index.php/Programmes/BiG-Bridge-Program.html
   (last visited 27 November, 2010).
9
  NASSCOM Foundation Overview, http://www.nasscomfoundation.org/index.php/CSR-
   Connect/Overview.html (last visited 15 November, 2010).
10
    Aniket Alam, Social Responsibility low on priority list of Indian Firms, The Hindu, 10 November,
   2002;http://www.hinduonnet.com/2002/11/10/stories/2002111001150500.htm (last visited 24, November,
   2010).


           CSR ACTIVITIES BY NASSCOM MEMBERS; A REVIEW- BY ADITYA GARG
society, CSR guidelines need to be formulated. CSR guidelines will be helpful to come out
from confusion and work without any confused mind. Nigeria took the step in this regard by
introducing a bill in February 2009 which makes it mandatory for the corporate houses to
invest in CSR activity up to 3.5% of their profit.11 This is an innovative step taken by
Nigerian Government; same can be implemented in Indian region, because both countries are
suffering from same problems i.e. vast population, limited resources.


There is no concept of Social Reporting in developing countries. It is again made by
companies on voluntary basis. However, in 1995 Denmark introduced a law on mandatory
“Green Accounts” for large companies. France followed in February 2002 with a legal act
that obliges listed companies to include social and environmental evaluations in their annual
reports.12 The mandatory submission of annual social report by companies in turn helps the
companies to show case their year on year basis of CSR improvements which in turn will
help them in improving their relation with investors and in media and thus help in improving
their public image. This will further bring transparency and strengthen their internal control
system.


In today’s world, the private sector is playing an increasingly important role in shaping global
health agendas. Public private partnerships (PPPs) are fast gaining acceptance as both the
public and the private sector recognize their individual inabilities to address emerging public
health issues. The private-public partnership again can help a lot in the field of CSR to
achieve fruitful outcomes. Both are having different specialties. Even partnership is a recent
trend adopted at international level by various CSR alliances. Recently, European
Commission (European Alliance for Corporate Social Responsibility) invited more than 40
business leaders to Brussels to meet with Vice President of the European Commission. The
main area of discussion in meeting was role of CSR in European Strategy or Growth. The
other area of discussion was how to combine competitiveness and social and environmental
sustainability across the whole supply chain of businesses. The meeting reached to the
conclusion that individual projects are better but effect of joint project can be much bigger.




11
   Charlotte Morgan, Nigerian CSR Legislation: Good News or Bad?, 19 November, 2010;
   http://www.csrdigest.com/2009/05/nigerian-csr-legislation-good-news-or-bad/ (last visited 27 November,
   2010).
12
   CSR - Reporting and Auditing, http://www.euractiv.com/en/socialeurope/csr-reporting-auditing-
   archived/article-117462, 17 August 2004, (last visited 26 November, 2010).


           CSR ACTIVITIES BY NASSCOM MEMBERS; A REVIEW- BY ADITYA GARG
NASSCOM foundation can be a good platform of discussion on the role of both sectors in the
field of CSR. NASSCOM can act as an advisory for both parts by deciding common area of
their activities. But PPPs can only be successful in the field of CSR, if they develop
transparent policy and procedural framework. Conflict and differences of interest should be
avoided.


At last, I will conclude by saying that welfare activities is not the sole responsibility of the
government but corporate who owns major resources of a country also have responsibility
towards society other than making profits for their stakeholders. Corporate world has
recognized its responsibility towards society and incorporated CSR initiatives in their
business strategy however their efforts in this regard are not yielding much fruitful results.
NASSCOM is one such association which is trying to ensure CSR as an integral part of every
IT and BPO company by organizing seminars and publishing reports etc. But still many steps
are required to ensure systematic solutions of social evils like illiteracy, poverty etc. in India.
As IT and BPO companies have proved themselves in their respective fields and have taken
many steps, at an individual level, for eradications of social problems but their steps failed to
yield an expected result. Today, the need of time is that these companies should give such
outcomes in the field of social evils which can help India in long run.




           CSR ACTIVITIES BY NASSCOM MEMBERS; A REVIEW- BY ADITYA GARG

				
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