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CSR and Companies Act, 2013 – Responsibility or Compulsion

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The persistent commitment of corporates to act ethically and contribute to the socio-economic development, while refining the living standards of the employees and their families, as well as of the local community and society at large is Corporate Social Responsibility. It is also understood as a way through which companies achieve balance of social, environmental and economic imperatives in order to fulfil – the now global – dream of sustainable development.

In our modern world, sustainable development and inclusive growth have become catch phrases. An ideal situation calls for equal distribution of wealth and equal availability of opportunities for everyone. This, though, is easier said than done. The state alone is not accountable for the socio-economic development of a country, the corporate sector being as crucial cog in the wheel of development as the state. The profits that the private and/or the public sector make are supposed to be shared for the good of the nation. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is an arrow in the quiver for holistic development of the nation. It is a mean to an end, the end being socio-economic development. It gives an opportunity to the corporates to give back to the nation.

Unfortunately, we live in a real world rather than an ideal one. Many questions arise when we talk about CSR. Is CSR enough? Is it followed to the letter? Is it merely a vehicle for corporates to build their brand value? To even try answering these questions, we have to have a deeper understanding of CSR.

CSR and Companies Act, 2013

There is a thin line that is drawn between a strategic business management concept, which CSR or Corporate Social Responsibility actually is, and charity, philanthropy or sponsorships. CSR is seen by businesses more as a technique to enhance the image of the brand than actually contributing to the society. It is the same all across the globe, with no exception. Ever since the birth of this concept, the mighty corporates have made fundamental contributions to the society as a whole and built a respectful brand image.

Let’s take the example of India. Before its independence and immediately after it, the social contribution of private companies was mostly confined to religious context, like building places of worship or donating to religious charities. With the liberalisation of Indian economy and surge of young entrepreneurs, organisations began to see beyond religion for their social contributions. Organisations like Aditya Birla group, Tata group and Reliance are some of the note-worthy companies that have made major investments in their CSR. Foreign companies like Larsen and Toubro, Cairn Energy, Coca Cola Company and others have also initiated many schemes under their CSR. These schemes range from setting up hospitals to starting vocational education or self-employment centres. Nowadays many organisations are involved in schemes like developing village industry clusters, adopting model villages and assistance to PAP (Project Affected People), and environment initiatives.

With the bill passed in the new Companies Act, 2013, the age old concept of Corporate Social Responsibility has seen a dramatic change in India. It is no longer a stunt to gain reputation but statutory responsibility that every company has to fulfil. According to the act, every company that meets any one of the following criteria of: a net worth of ₹500 crore or more, or with a turnover of ₹1000 crore or more or a net profit of ₹5 crore or more during any financial year will have to spend at least 2% of the average net profits of the company for CSR. It is also mentioned in the act that the company shall give preference to the local area and areas around where it operates, for spending the amount kept aside for Corporate Social Responsibility activities. These new rules would be applicable from 2014.

To assess the performance of the companies in their Corporate Social Responsibility, Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) and Indian Institute of Corporate Affairs (IICA) have plans to develop India’s first CSR index. This index will also look into the mandatory two percent spending of the corporates as per the new Companies Act, 2013.    CSR and Companies Act, 2013

Although the amended Companies Act, 2013 lays down certain guidelines for the amount of money to be spent on CSR activities it – probably intentionally – stops short of defining the ambit of such activities. The government has left it open for the companies to decide on what activities/programs they would undertake to fulfil their CSR. Sachin Pilot, the Honourable Minister of Corporate Affairs, stated that the government has left the canvas wide open for the companies to decide on their own about CSR activities they wish to undertake to comply with the new norms. He also said the few areas prescribed under the law are only suggestive in nature and it should not be seen as a restrictive list.

After the amended Companies Act, 2013, many believe that the act of social responsibility shall be forced out of the corporates rather than being their natural and dedicated decision towards the society. However, it is imperative to understand the importance of contributions from corporates, as they can radically upgrade a community and the nation. The impact of CSR is not confined to  only social and economic well-being but it spreads to environmental and emotional well-being as well. With a mixed response to this bill from companies, it remains to be seen whether the Indian corporate sector takes CSR as an honest responsibility or merely a compulsion after the introduction of Companies Act, 2013.

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3 Tips For An Easy House Move

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Moving home is so exciting, right? A fresh start, a lovely new place, a new neighbourhood to explore. You feel like a little kid again – those night-before-the-move jitters and arranging all your furniture into a great new space is an unbeatable feeling. However, as we all know, moving can also be expensive and stressful. Especially with lots of furniture, children, pets and a limited amount of time, the task can feel insurmountable. Here are three tips for an easy house move.

1. Hiring Your Own Lorry

Removal companies are great if you have all your own furniture, and no way of transporting it. However if you have a partially furnished let, wherein you’ll have some,but not all of your furnishings already set up in the new property, you could hire your own truck. This will save a lot of money and will ease your move. You can hire the lorry for as long as you need it, and you can have a fun road trip all of your own!

Ensure that when you hire or buy your own lorry, you look into lorry insurance and invest in proper precautions. 

2. Asking For Help With Child And Pet Care

If you are moving with young children, dogs or cats, the move can become infinitely more complicated and difficult. If you have close friends or family who can take care of your children or pets for you, this would help your move immensely. Having to take care of small children whilst lifting heavy boxes and organising a million things at once can be a big challenge, and can even lead to accidents. Children can be overwhelmed by moving house, so it is much better to have them come to your new home when you have had a chance to organise the space and make it feel like home.

Similarly, dogs and cats can become stressed by a change in location. If the place is in disarray, the animals can become even more frightened and restless. It is better to have a friend, family or professional pet care company take care of them whilst your house move is taking place.

3. Time Off Work

Although it can feel wasteful to take holiday from work just to move house, you’ll thank yourself later for taking the time. Moving into a new house might only take one day, but the unpacking, organising and cleaning process can take far longer. If you take a few days, or even a week, to complete your move, you can return to work with a fresh slate, knowing you’ll be coming back to an organised, calm home!

Plus, this way you can actually enjoy your move, rather than treating it as a stressful nightmare! You can make the most of the new space, experiment with the layout, and truly transform this house into a home which you will be enjoying for years to come.

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3 Issues Repair Workers Are Facing During The Corona Pandemic

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It’s fair to say that the whole economy and multiple industries have taken a hit due to the coronavirus pandemic. Lockdown forced many companies to close their doors while others were forced into administration. At the same time, numerous businesses have also struggled with how to restart their respective models and get things firing on all cylinders once more. However some companies have been hit harder than others. 

Maintenance and repair workers such as plumbers and electricians are facing significant difficulties right now. Here are some of the issues that they are dealing with and the potential solutions. 

Social Distancing 

One of the greatest issues right now is that it seems social distancing is key to preventing the spread of the virus. Ultimately, this means that people are wary about being around others and potentially letting individuals into their homes. That’s a definite problem for repair workers who often require access to complete their jobs. Now, you might assume that people will call repair workers out regardless because it’s an emergency. However, a lot of time a repair doesn’t seem like an emergency and people will put it off for as long as possible. 

The challenge here is convincing customers and clients that safety can be maintained in this type of situation. More often than not, this is about ensuring that PPE is used and readily available for workers. Businesses also need to be clear about the things they are doing to keep everyone safe. 

Getting Supplies

We have seen numerous factories and businesses forced to close due to coronavirus outbreaks. The issue here is that this leaves a lot of companies unable to get the products that they need. It can cause businesses to grind to a halt, particularly plumbers and electricians that often require access to spare parts. 

Luckily, key parts such as a 3 way ball valve can still be found online and at reasonable prices. But, repair companies may still need to expand their search and look to companies that they haven’t used before to ensure that they have the parts they need. 

Financial Losses

It’s like that repair companies and maintenance workers, particularly freelancers, have sustained substantial losses over the past few months. While there has been government support to help mitigate the damage, this may not have been enough. Companies will also need to consider how they can protect their model from future damage. This does mean that they need to think about insurance options. There is insurance coverage that could potentially help if there is a dreaded second wave or a new outbreak. By getting the insurance in place now, companies like this will be able to keep their business afloat and the lights on. It could also help if the coronavirus pandemic does cause a massive economic disaster as many analysts seem to fear. 

We hope this helps you understand the challenges that these workers and businesses are facing. It’s like that many will bounce back eventually but there could definitely be some rough roads ahead before things are able to snap back into place.

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Business Essentials to Cross off Your Checklist This Year

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There are a lot of elements that you are going to need to work on when it comes to improving and enhancing your business, and this is why you have to look at the best possible business essentials. There are so many things that you are going to need to get right if you are serious about making the right changes for your business. Try to do as much as you can to improve the company moving forward, and work on taking steps to get this right. 

You are going to need to focus on doing as much as possible to make a difference to your business right now. There are a lot of things that play a part in taking things to the next level for your business. And you have a lot you need to consider when trying to achieve the best success you can. Here is a checklist of some of the top business essentials you need to be crossing off this year. 

Improve Your Efficiency 

Improving your efficiency as a company is one of the most important things you can do, and this is why it is so important to make sure you focus on getting this right as much as possible. You are going to have to focus on doing what you can to get your company operating in a more efficient manner, and there are a lot of things you can do to help you achieve this. Look at things like outsourcing and trying to digitize the business as much as you possibly can. 

Bolster Your Security

Business security is so important for protecting the future of the brand, and this is something you are going to have to get right as much as possible. Now, these days, it is so important to make sure you think about the threat of cybersecurity, as this is something that can cause problems for your business. So, you need to make sure you look at what you can do to improve your company’s cybersecurity and guard against cybercrime and online attacks that could harm your business. 

Look for Value

You need to make sure you look for value wherever you can find it, and this can make a huge difference to the way the business comes across. There are a lot of elements that play a role in being able to get this right as much as possible and you have to consider where you can source value as a business owner. For example, looking at things like used agricultural machinery is an excellent way of being able to find and make the most of value in the modern business world.

Hire the Best Talent

Hiring the best talent for your business is also something you need to sort out right now. There are a lot of tips and techniques you can use to help you here, and having a strong hiring policy will really help you out. This is one of the most important elements that you are going to have to keep in mind right now, and it will help you to make the best decisions as a business owner right now. 

You need to have an idea in mind of what you can do to make the best possible business decisions right now, and take things to the next level. There are a lot of decisions that need to be made, and this is something that plays a big part in that process as well. Do what you can to focus on improving the business by making sure you look at these essentials as much as possible. 

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