In the previous six years, corporations in Tamil Nadu has spent over 4,000 crore on corporate social responsibility (FY15 to FY21)
Corporations can set a good example for the government by taking on grassroot level and granular works like water conservation and redevelopment of ponds or lakes using CSR funds where the government cannot, and this also sets a benchmark on how the government can live up to the standards, said Tamil Nadu Finance Minister Palanivel Thiaga Rajan during his speech at the Tamil Nadu CSR Summit.
Sattva, in collaboration with Dhwani Foundation and Madras Management Association, hosted the event. Rajan authored an article on whether CSR should be a corporate’s fundamental purpose while continuing his education in the United States, when he was taking a business ethics course, in which he argued forcefully that it should not. A company’s shareholders expect the management and board of directors to provide the results for which they paid for the stock. He had maintained that they did not appoint them to be the society’s guardians.
“However, contrary to my previous opinion on this subject (using CSR funds) 20 years ago, I now believe that in the advancement of society and the resolution of problems, corporate entities that have the expertise, requisite infrastructure, and skillset in people that is sometimes, and in many cases ‘glaringly’ lacking in the government, play a critical role. You will not only be of enormous use to society, but you will also be able to demonstrate the entire level to which the government should be held accountable and improve,” he stated.
In a similar vein, Rajan said that during the recent Budget debate in the Assembly, many MLAs wanted unlimited flexibility in the use of Constituency Development Funds, which are similar to CSR Funds in that they are intended to focus on grass-roots and granular problems that policymakers cannot address.