Corporate Social Responsibility and Covid-19
Author: Shriya Bhatkhande
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) could fairly insist to be one of the broadly read and mentioned sub‐fields of management, yet it does not have a globally accepted definition. However, the foundation of the term is constructed around the faith that businesses are mindful of duties towards society. India was the first country in the world to levy a judicial constraint of CSR for businesses reaching certain criteria. According to the Companies Act (Section 135), corporations having a net worth of INR 5 billion or an outturn of INR 10 billion per annum or net income of 50 million or more should give 2% of their average net profit of 3 years to CSR. India makes both the spending and reporting of CSR duties obligatory. In countries such as India, CSR has become a fundamental and effective factor of the corporate landscape, where economic and social amalgamation are commanding forces that propel growth and development.
The novel coronavirus outbreak in the country was a “notified disaster” by the Government of India to assemble support from the State Disaster Response Funds (SDRF). As per the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) interpretation, spending of capital for COVID-19 aid would be admissible under CSR and occupied in generous amounts authorized under the Plan. Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations Fund’ (PM CARES) was configured to counter the COVID-19 emergency. Next, Schedule VII was revised to add contributions to PM CARES in addition to the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund. By utilizing its far-flung network, Invest India established a CSR support cell that enabled a route-specific for CSR funding into central/state level as well as Government/NGOs into Covid-19 assistance. Invest India devised an online depository with 30+ relief funds as well as grew a channel of INR 163 Cr from the CSR contributions made by the organizations. One of the major services in Covid-19 Invest India was the provision of fundamental supplies, viz. critical care equipment, important commodities to front liners, and over 11 lakhs of PPEs.
Four major sectors where the CSR probe has been challenged by COVID‐19 are supply chain, stakeholders, political economy, and societal risks.
An increase in the requirement of medical facilities like PPE kits and ventilators, as well as scarcities induced by amassing have exhibited the frailty to global supply chains, peculiarly when lockdown scenarios have markedly rattled the manufacturing. Additionally, the majority of the low-wage workers left unaccompanied with salaries, jobs, or social protection. Clean Clothes Campaign, 2020 distributors confronted deferred payments, orders cancelled, and calls for discounts on products.
This shows the susceptibility of the global supply chain and the uncertainty of workers as well as distributors in the supply chain. As seen, one hit of pandemic and there is a need for restructuring supply chain union to make sure durability, how does this represent Supply Chain Responsibility? More fundamentally, considering Covid-19 as proof, it is needed to become proficient in planning and analysing risk assessment in the supply chain.
Although the front liners in the healthcare industry, public transportation, food sector, and delivery system, regarded as crucial contributors in keeping the economy going, have been uncovered to the virus-infection without necessary precautions. Despite the acknowledgment, front-liners remained poorly paid. It is foreseen that COVID‐19 will aggravate biases among the essential workforce. Additionally, employees working from home and in schools, teaching, child, and elderly caretakers are frequently unnoticed. It is a need to recheck the concepts of stakeholder recognition and prioritization. It is evident to consider “who and what counts”.
If the supposed essential workers are labeled as ‘reliant workforce’ only because their requirements have authorization and not power, we need better options of securing their importance to society. As we look forward, we are required to understand the value that various stakeholders bring to the table. Future CSR has to look after why certain contributors are not valued and develop a solution to it.
Politics and Economy
The Covid-19 has opened a new political economy of CSR. Covid-19 has recurred Governments as vital in confronting the challenges and social responsibility of the companies work in harmony with the Government in response to the crisis. As the Covid-19 inquires the core function of what is the role of a company towards society, the organizations voluntarily follow charity, safeguarding the jobs, producing socially acceptable products, and defending the stakeholders.
The investigation into the role of business responsibility emerges as it is fairly ingrained that the virus came from the “Chinese Wet-Markets’. The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the societal risk and uncertainty in business. The business being the source of such risks as well as the character that is eminently in-danger with new risks.
The businesses work in a dispersed and multi-dimensional quandary of administration threats. The pandemic had a direct impact on the social commitments to which a business adheres to viz. laying off employees, facilities to provide clients with essential products. It also sets the organizations based on solving and/or at least containing the situation at hand. Medication, face-masks, sanitizers, ventilators, and potential vaccines are all manufactured by businesses. Hence, the basic production of essential goods and services came into the limelight during the crisis.
The Covid-19 pandemic has led Corporate Social Responsibility on a leading edge. Undoubtedly, CSR constraint is revolutionary for assuring the profits made by the businesses in Indian can be carried back to society in a substantial way. The attempts made by Gov. in regulating the plan are exemplary. Additionally, binding the CSR with SDGs makes sure that the CSR expenditure is oriented and adds to national priorities. However, certain lapses in the CSR management require to be fixed for maximum results. The small-scale and large-scale businesses are now respondent to problems and intensified the Gov. attempts by regenerating the CSR strategies.
 Jason Fernando, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), Investopedia, https://www.investopedia.com/terms/c/corp-social-responsibility.asp  Companies Act, https://www.mca.gov.in/Ministry/pdf/CompaniesAct2013.pdf Guidelines on constitution and Administration of the State Disaster Response Fund and National Disaster Response Fund, https://www.dea.gov.in/sites/default/files/Guidelines%20for%20State%20Disaster%20Response%20Fund%20%28SDRF%29.pdf  Ministry of Corporate Affairs, http://www.mca.gov.in/ Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund, https://pmnrf.gov.in/en/ COVID 19 and the Future of CSR Research,https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/joms.12642 Ibid CSR Strategies,https://www.forbes.com/sites/amberjohnson-jimludema/2018/08/15/six-csr-strategies-that-are-good-for-business/?sh=2104ca9750a8