Mumbai, Feb 2:
Vice President Hamid Ansari Monday urged Indian industry to embrace the concept of “growth with equity” as part of their corporate social responsibility motto.
“Empirical evidence shows that growth without equity is not sustainable in the long run. On the other hand, desired levels of equity or inclusion cannot be attained without rapid and sustained growth. Hence, the solution is not in ‘either-or’, but in both,” he said, addressing captains of industry at a financial conclave organised by the premier Indian Merchants Chamber (IMC) here.
Ansari said that businesses promote growth directly by increasing production and output, and help in inclusion by generating productive employment and creating wealth.
The Companies Act, 2013 has brought the idea of CSR to the fore by making it mandatory for certain class of enterprises, he pointed out.
According to the Indian Institute of Corporate Affairs, a minimum of 6,000 Indian companies are required to undertake CSR projects and some estimates peg the commitments by companies to as much as Rs.20,000 crores.
“The answer, however, does not lie in enacting new laws to make CSR mandatory for all. It has a greater chance of success through voluntary commitments by all able enterprises, in private and public sectors. This would be a win-win proposition for the businesses and the society in which they exist and flourish,” Ansari said.
He further observed that CSR, traditionally regarded as a philanthropic activity, has evolved from institution building to community development through educational, cultural or research projects.
“It now needs to move forward from community development to becoming more strategic in nature by getting linked with business,” Ansari urged, calling for allocation of more resources for uplift of the weakest segments of society to ensure greater social harmony and national prosperity.
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis reiterated the importance of growth with equity.
Quoting noted economists like Amartya Sen and Jagdish Bhagwati, he said while eradicating poverty is necessary, resources to fund such programmes should be generated from economic growth.
Ansari also recalled IMC’s role in promoting the Swadeshi Movement during Indian freedom struggle and Mahatma Gandhi’s association as an honorary member of IMC, now 108 years old.
Present on the occasion were Governor C. V. Rao, top businessmen and industrialists, economists, policy analysists and six wealth and value creators honoured on the occasion for boosting production, generating employment, skilling people and tax compliance. IANS