There are a lot of things that need to be done for the marginalized people of our society and this includes workers who are employed at various companies but are not getting the work environment that they deserved. Such people need special care because they don’t have enough money to take good care of their health. This is why India took the decision to legally mandate corporate social responsibility or CSR in 2014. India became the first country to do so. The main aim of this decision was to eradicate poverty and hunger not only among the workers but in society as well. It also aims at promoting education among them, working toward gender equality, reducing child mortality, and other such things. But have we been able to meet these targets? Have been able to give back to the society and workers who do so much for us. To discuss this topic, HealthWire organized a webinar – HEALTH AND SAFETY MANAGEMENT SUMMIT AND AWARDS 2022.
Among those who joined the panel discussion on ‘Importance of giving back to society under CSR’ were some well-known personalities like Dr. Shubhank Singh, Center Head Medanta Mediclinic Delhi at Medanta, Chirag Barjatya- Founder of ProjectFitCom aka PFC & fitness coach and senior journalist SK Mishra, Editor of Weekly Environmental Newspaper – Enviro Annotations.
The panel discussion was moderated by Dr. Yash Gulati started the session by asking how much companies or individuals have been able to do for society. “Have we been able to give back to the society, have we been able to do enough for the society,” he asked.
Reacting to it, Dr. Shubhank Singh, Center Head Medanta Mediclinic Delhi at Medanta, said that answering whether we are doing enough is beyond anybody’s capacity.
“I am not in a position to answer whether as an individual or as a doctor I am doing enough or not and I think it is beyond the capacity of any other individual. This decision about what is enough and what is not comes from your inner soul,” Singh said.
Dr Singh also praised the idea of making CSR compulsory as he believes that several companies who were not spending a portion of their profit share on the betterment of society are now bound by law to help people.
“I would also like to say that whatever I can understand about CSR, it is that you cannot do CSR in an area that prime area of your business. For example, if you are in the healthcare business, your CSR would not be counted if doing something related to health care. You can do something related to education, and take care of special children and areas other than what is directly benefiting you. For example, many organizations did a beautiful job by being associated with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Swachh Bharat Mission,” he said.
Chirag Barjatya emphasized that everyone can contribute in their own way to bring changes in the life of marginalized people.
“We all can give back to society in our own way. Like we are a fitness-related company, we tried our best to help people during COVID-19 times. As we all know, most people were working from home during the coronavirus pandemic and this resulted in weight gain and they developed many lifestyle-related disorders. So we decided to give back to society by solving this problem. We start giving free diet plans to people over WhatsApp. This helped several people lose weight free of cost and in this way we tried to give something back to society. We are trying to take several such steps as it feels great when you give back to society,” Barjatya said.
He said that there are some other non-government organizations (NGOs) that have been distributing protein-rich food to workers.
Talking about the importance of fitness among workers, Barjatya said that everyone wants a fit employee because productivity increases if employees are fit. “Corporate houses must encourage their employees to be more fit and they can do so by doing simple things like encouraging their employees to complete 8,000 step counts. These are small steps that companies can do to start with.”
During the discussion, Mishra said that there should be more emphasis on voluntary participation by companies.
“Just like CSR, there is CER or companies environmental responsibility. It is not mandated like CSR. But they are very closely related. However, we often see that there is very little participation. So this needs to be changed. If we really want to work for the betterment of society, we need to do it from our heart,” he said.