PUNE: Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is more than just holding medical camps or running literacy classes in villages close to the factory location. For mentors of the Bharatiya Yuva Shakti Trust (BYST), it means inculcating a sense of fiscal responsibility and values (like paying taxes,) among brand new entrepreneurs. For companies like Cummins India Ltd, it means getting involved in an organisation like the Public Concern for Governance Trust (PCGT), which is spearheading a campaign on eradicating corruption in the country.
BYST, supported by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) as part of its CSR initiatives, ensures its mentors inculcate a sense of social commitment to would-be entrepreneurs. The mentors are themselves usually entrepreneurs, drawn from the small and medium size enterprise (SME) sector.
Pratibha Bhamburkar, partner, Shiv Shakti Paints and mentor with BYST, ex-plained that among her first lessons to the would-be entrepreneur was to impart a sense of fiscal discipline.
"The entrepreneur I was mentoring had to be given directions on the need to pay taxes regularly, that he needs to be registered with the relevant tax authorities, especially now since his turnover is Rs. 40 lakh," Ms Bhamburkar said. Thereby creating an upright corporate citizen.
Dinesh Castellino, vice president legal and company secretary, Cummins India Ltd (CIL) said the engine manufacturer's involvement with the NGO was for its CSR initiatives.
"For us, at Cummins, this is part of our involvement in a social cause, which is also part of our values, of improving the lives of the people and communities in which we operate," Mr Castellino said. He added that CIL is represented on the right to information (RTI) and anti-corruption sub-committees of the PCGT. Two other sub committees, on improving the condition of roads and imparting softer, people- and situation-handling, skills to policemen, are yet to start in Pune.
This is in keeping with CIL's commitment made by its chairman, Anant Talauli-car, at the company's annual general meeting in July 06. He had then said, "We will promote the RTI Act to ensure India becomes a meritocracy," adding that CIL would work with the PCGT, a Mumbai-based Trust.
Taking that commitment forward, Mr Castellino explained that CIL's role is limited to creating awareness about the existing fora for redressal which exist in government departments.
"Government departments have the mechanism to fight corruption. All we plan to do by holding workshops is to make people aware of these mechanisms, which government officials will themselves explain," Mr Castellino stated. For the over Rs. 1400 crore engine maker, this is an activity into which all its eight entities could be roped in, on a need basis.
PCGT plans to start a help desk at its own office, manned two-three hours a day, which will offer help to people on the RTI Act.