Press Information Bureau
Government of India
Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas
03-November-2010 16:57 IST
Address of Mos(P&NG) Shri Jitin Prasada at a Session on Corporate Social Responsibility During Perotech-2010
Following is the text of the speech delivered by the Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas Shri Jitin Prasada on the occasion of a session on the Theme of Corporate Social Responsibility during Perotech-2010:

“I am reminded of a quote by Father of our Nation, Mahatma Gandhi, and I quote:

“…That no matter how much money we have earned, we should regard ourselves as trustees, holding this money for the welfare of all our neighbours…”

2. Thus long before the term Corporate Social Responsibility was coined, Mahatama Gandhi had termed it a sacred responsibility which the companies should shoulder for the sake of humanity and the society, which gives them the environment to grow and prosper. The essence of Corporate Social Responsibility is not just ethical corporate and accounting practices but also to payback the costs of externalization of business to other sectors. The word “Responsibility”, taken from Latin (respondeo), itself means “I answer”. In “corporate social responsibility” the “I” is the corporation; the “answering” must be to the “society.”

3. To me, this is not a philosophical debate over the ethical behaviour. Business cannot be based on rational economic calculations only. Companies are part of society and in the long term a company can only thrive if the society is itself thriving. Business is a long-term activity. Investments, therefore need to be designed to create activities that will endure and remain profitable over decades. That is why they need to be sustainable. A few years ago people used to scoff at the ideas like CSR & environment issues and dismissed them as showing too much anxieties for the endangered butterflies in remote forest, but the recent industrial disasters have shown that insensitivities towards environment can actually endanger the companies themselves. The sensitivity of people towards environment and social issues has increased and no business can sustain by being insensitive to such issues. Therefore, the relationships with the communities, in which the company operate, should be built on the principle of long-term mutual advantage.

4. But, at the same time, CSR should not be taken as an act of charity. While donations are required, mere charity does not help in the long run. This is because, “When we get something without earning it, we do not put any value to it”. Hence, facilities built on such donations are not maintained. So, as Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), companies need to create situations, where the beneficiaries own the process, and are a part of the process. CSR has to be made a part of the business activity itself. I have often seen that our companies tend to treat CSR as an unwanted task of compulsorily spending 1 or 2% of their profits in an unsystematic manner. There should be a proper focus to build sustainable and institutionalized platforms out of CSR funds. On one hand it would give long lasting benefits to larger number of public and on the other hand the companies would get enhanced brand value.

5. In the end, I would like to say that a time has come for companies to follow the principle of “triple bottomline”: one each for finance, environment and social issues. I am sure that with the corporate leadership we have, companies would declare their other two bottomlines to their shareholders as proudly as they do it for their financial achievements.”