Corporate social responsibility is an important aspect of the corporate world in the 21st century. Companies are not just money-making and profit churning organizations but pillars to the community. Today it is important to integrate social and environmental concerns as part of any business organization and it is important for corporate to be aware of the world around them. Today there is a lot of strife and suffering all over the world and the COVID 19 crisis has gripped the world in a way that no other crisis has in the past few decades.
COVID 19 is a coronavirus pandemic that has affected almost every country on the planet with rising cases in Europe, North America, Asia, Oceania, and Africa. Some countries have had horrible outbreaks with a lot of loss of life. India has cases rising every day and Indian people have greatly suffered from the COVID 19 crisis over the last few months. Millions of migrants had to move from one state to another, many times on foot to reach their villages. The unemployment rate in India is above 25%. Many shops, restaurants, small businesses, and sectors are seeing losses and are even shutting down in India. The lockdown also locked down the economic activity in India like the rest of the world. Our healthcare system is under strain.
This is a period in India when the rich have to become generous and major corporations have to keep profits aside and work for the betterment of the country. The impact of corona is visible in all states in India. Corporate social responsibility is more important in every sector of the economy today than ever before. Corporate social responsibility or CSR has to be redefined by Indian businesses to suit the needs of the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic. The following are examples of how Indian businesses can redefine their role and responsibility to help manage this crisis:
The first line of defense against the COVID 19 pandemic is at the hospitals. It is the responsibility of large chains of hospitals to treat patients at cost and not charge exorbitant fees for coronavirus treatment. Healthcare professionals are working long hours and need to be compensated by their hospitals accordingly, without thinking of profits. Hospital systems and the government need to work out the economics and treat patients in public and private hospitals either free of cost or at a minimal cost.
The economy is stagnant right now because consumer demand has fallen considerably in India. A great CSR project by top businesses in India is to make medical equipment needed for healthcare. This includes using factories to make masks, hand sanitizers, PPE equipment, and providing urgent healthcare support needed by the government. Corporate businesses, hotels, and other organizations that have large built-up spaces need to give these spaces to the government to make shift hospitals, disinfected rooms, and isolation wards.
All corporate businesses have a responsibility towards their employees and workers they hire on a contractual basis as the rich businesses need to protect those who have made them successful. This means builders need to help migrants working in construction reach home, factory owners need to protect their workers from economic crises, and firms need to pay salaries for their employees. Closing down the business and cutting jobs must be the absolute last resort. Government policy for social responsibility during Covid 19 states that different businesses can get loans for staying in business. These loans and government help should be availed by different businesses.
The food supply chain is severely disrupted during the coronavirus crisis as people lose jobs in India. Food security, and getting three square meals a day is a major problem for millions in the country. A great avenue for corporate social responsibility is for Indian businesses to look at their surrounding immediate vicinities and start distributing food in the area. Food security is critically important during such a crisis as millions could go hungry in India during COVID 19 which will lead to a socio-economic disaster for the country.
India has nationalized banks as well as private banks and different forms of financial lending institutions. As the government has approved loans for all types of businesses, it is the job of these financial institutions to help their local communities and provide liquidity in an easy way to the local economies in India. Corporate social responsibility of banks even extends to taking care of their customers and providing them with credit and loans in an easy way during the crisis.
Social responsibility and Covid 19 relief have to go hand in hand. People are finding it difficult to get necessities like medicines, food, and other essential products as getting out of the homes is a problem in these times. Major e-commerce websites need to priorities selling and delivery of essential products for customers in a fast way. Price gouging during this period is unacceptable in India during this crisis for shops, e-commerce sites, and departmental stores.
India is a country of over 1.3 billion people and central and state governments are stretched to their limits dealing with this crisis. Corporate social responsibility extends to providing all kinds of support to the government during this crisis. This includes providing logistical support, management expertise and also providing funding for medical research to find cures and vaccines for this disease. It also includes helping the government track the virus in the country and make solutions to manage this crisis effectively.
The government should be supported by businesses during the lockdown period. No business should pressure the government to ease restrictions because they are worried about their bottom line and profits.
Corporate social responsibility has been redefined during the Covid 19 crisis and Indian businesses need to contribute towards society today. Businesses have the manpower, management expertise, and financial backing which India needs today to deal with such a major crisis.🔥43
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