Govt to set up Indian Institute of Corporate Affairs

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New Delhi, May 5 (UNI) The government plans to set up an institute to look at various aspects of corporate affairs, including Corporate Social responsibility (CSR).

''The government will set up an Indian Institute of Corporate Affairs to look at various aspects of corporate affairs, including CSR, holistically,'' Corporate Affairs Secretary Anurag Goel said while addressing the second CII CSR National Summit here today.

The institute would not be a 'watch dog' but an 'autonomous think tank' with representation from government, corporates and institutions/organisations, Mr Goel added.

The Summit panel, comprising of business and government leaders, discussed a range of issues from the need to bridge the gap between corporate governance and CSR, the ways to make CSR activities more accountable as well as more effective, to better delivery systems, the need to update the laws relating to these issues, and the types of partnerships involving different stakeholders in such activities.

The panel stressed on the fact that CSR is an effective business tool that provides returns in the long-term to both civil society and the industry.

Speaking at the Summit, GE India President and CEO Tejpreet Chopra said, ''It is a tool for companies to understand the needs of the customer, to stay ahead of society's way of thinking.'' CSR is useful in developing brand image, Mr Chopra added.

Steel Authority of India Ltd Chairman Sushil Kumar Roongta said the focus should be on investment, not with an eye on returns - although returns will certainly be there in the long term.

''To ensure that CSR is effective one should ensure that the employees see the benefit of it,'' Mr Roongta said and cited the CSR initiatives of the Bhilai Steel Plant as a case in point.

It is not just a tax incentive activity, he added.

Just keeping a percentage of net distributable profit for CSR is an insufficient response, corporates must take more responsibility and work towards successful partnerships with government, NGOs and Civil Society, CNBC Associate Editor Shereen Bhan said.

UNI BJR SR HT1904

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