CSR in new dimensions: It has become imperative for cos to understand the social milieu in which they function

The recent speech of the Prime Minister at the CII meeting, leading to a debate on reservations in the private sector, has perhaps raised relevant issues on the whole concept of corporate social responsibility (CSR). Indian business has had a tradition of providing financial support for activities that go beyond the narrow interest of the shareholders. In the past, however, corporate philanthropy and actions defining creation of places of religious worship or schools and other institutions. This concept has undergone substantial transformation not only because the corporate sector is now involved in activities, which were earlier part of the Government's responsibility, but also because with the spread of information, public opinion has become an important part of the image of a corporate organization, outgrowing performance purely in a business sense. There is also a much larger reason for redefining CSR, grounded in the reality that business cannot succeed in a society which fails. It had, therefore, become imperative for companies to understand the social milieu in which they function. Public acceptance of the operations of any business, particularly in an alien society, often determines the success or otherwise of corporations. Such acceptance comes from the company in question being seen in empathy with the aspirations and values of the society in which it functions. Full Text