Emphasising that social welfare activities will generate enough goodwill for wealth creators among ordinary people, President Ram Nath Kovind on Tuesday suggested companies to look at ways to contribute more towards CSR spending for orphans and disabled people.
"I sincerely hope that innovative solutions to persisting development challenges will emerge from the CSR activities," he said at the first National Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) awards function here.
The CSR provisions under the Companies Act, 2013 came into force from April 1, 2014.
Under the Act, certain class of profitable companies are required to shell out at least two per cent of their three-year average annual net profit towards CSR activities in a particular financial year.
Noting that the response of companies to the CSR framework has been highly commendable, the president said every fiscal since 2014-15, the corporate sector has set aside a total of more than Rs 10,000 crore for social welfare.
Sharing his vision, Kovind said when it comes to helping those in need in the society, there are resources, the will and a framework too.
"Whom shall we help most? I have in mind orphan children and Divyang (disabled people). While the government has done what it can to give them a helping hand, society and especially the corporate sector can still do more for them.
"Can we plan in such a way that within a foreseeable future, every orphan child can get personal care? We can set 2030 as a deadline to ensure providing care to every child and reap the benefits of demographic advantage that we have," he said.
Making the suggestion as "food for thought and action", Kovind said that respect is received by donating wealth and not by storing wealth.
According to him, it is equally important to internalise social welfare in the corporate culture.
He asked the companies to motivate their employees and sensitise them to this higher calling in service of the marginalised sections of society.
This single step would generate enough goodwill for wealth creators among ordinary people, he added.
"The Companies Act was amended in 2013-14, making it mandatory for companies with a specified level of profit to spend two per cent of it on social welfare. I am told it is one of the world’s largest experiments in promoting CSR," Kovind said.
While noting that what is now called CSR is "very much in our DNA", the president said the legacy was carried forward by entrepreneurs of early industrialism.
"Illustrious business families like Tata, Birla and Bajaj and many others associated with our freedom struggle were sensitive to their social responsibilities. Mahatma Gandhi developed the principle of trusteeship, not only from his deep understanding of our various religious traditions, but also on the basis of the generosity of industrialists associated with him," he added.
From now onwards, the National CSR awards -- instituted by the Ministry of Corporate Affairs -- would be conferred every year on October 2, the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.