MYSURU: Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities being initiated by various companies, have helped hundreds of people to construct their livelihood, have access to quality healthcare, education and other skill-oriented training programmes.
This was revealed in a study on 'Impact of CSR spending on rural households in Karnataka: A case study of Mysuru District', done by Dr S Manu, research scholar, Department of Studies in Economics and Co-operation, University of Mysore.
The study comprises 385 households in Mysuru, out of this 68 per cent are selected from Nanjunjud Taluk and the rest of the sample is collected from HD Kote taluk.
It reveals that the major contributions of CSR has been to the health sector, that has has lessened the apprehensions of villagers about not being able to access health care services.
It has also reduced people's dependence on the local moneylender.
Earlier they were incurring severe debts to purchase medicines and now that burden of debt has been reduced.
Now citizen are more secure and confident in dealing with any health-related emergencies. There are 32 major companies in Mysuru which are trying to bring a difference under CSR interventions/
Although health interventions have increased awareness about healthy lifestyle and hygiene, Manu said that currently CSR programmes are being implemented in the vicinity of these private companies, without looking at the socio-economic status and local needs.
"In the future, CSR initiatives must be taken in less developed regions even though they are far away from the factories," Manu said.
Vinod, resident of Nanjangud who is one of the beneficiaries said, “CSR interventions have reduced the burden through providing access to better education and health facilities. Majority of the people have availed the health benefits, sanitation intervention programmes and some training.”
He also added that participation in empowerment programmes has helped in decision making and increased mobility.
Provide agriculture infrastructure
As per the study, health, education, rural development etc, are the priority areas under CSR. Manu observed that the companies should focus on spending on infrastructure development and other livelihood interventions in these areas.
“Rural development demands huge investments in the area of developing agriculture infrastructure in the form of storage facilities, providing marketing linkages, installing agro-processing units, introducing cold storage facilities etc. Companies should spend their CSR expenditure in these areas so that the incomes of rural households increase. This will have a spiralling effect on increasing consumption and creating demand for goods and services,” he stressed.
He suggested that in the future while considering sectors for CSR spending, companies should conduct surveys and meetings with villagers which will benefit the people involved in the process and yield better results. Tribal development is completely left out and companies should also reach out to them.
It is observed in areas where the study was conducted, that there are no school-going children in 69.5% of the households. Some of the students have availed the benefit of participation in coaching camps, cultural programmes organised by the companies and are encouraged to compete in interschool competitions at the taluk and district levels. This need to reach more children.
Data shows that the total CSR investment by companies in India crossed Rs 50,000 crore by March 31, 2019, since the applicability of the mandatory CSR. According to India CSR Outlook Report (ICOR, 2016) of 250 companies, majority of the spending is in the area of health, education, poverty alleviation, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) programmes.
The study also reveals that over the past half a decade the investment towards Healthcare and WASH projects in India has been increasing.
It increased from Rs. 1588 crore in 2014-15 to Rs. 3252 Crore in 2018-19.
The amount spent on education was found to be Rs. 2224 Crore in the first year of 2014-15 and it has increased to Rs. 3540 Crore by 2018. The expenditure on education increased at an annual rate of 12.32 per cent.