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Munda’s hiss at CSR meet

Ranchi, Oct. 29: Chief minister Arjun Munda compared present-day corporate social responsibility (CSR) in the state rather alarmingly to a milk-guzzling snake on Monday at the opening session of a conclave titled “Jharkhand CSR” hosted by vernacular daily Prabhat Khabar in Ranchi.

Asking companies to give people and profits equal weight for industrial peace, Munda reminded the power gathering of corporate veterans and academics of the snake that sucked mother’s milk and stuck its tail in her own infant’s mouth, in a strong hint that CSR benefits didn’t reach the target group.

Though Munda feted representatives of India Inc. including Tata Steel, Jindal Steel & Power Limited, Kashyap Memorial Eye Hospital, Adhunik Group, Central Coalfields Limited (CCL), SAIL’s Bokaro Steel Limited (BSL), he did not mince words.

He asked BSL and CCL to fulfill their long-pending promise of setting up medical colleges in respective areas.

“Every time I take up the issue, they say that their respective boards of directors have cleared the proposal. I am still waiting,” he said.

Subjecting CSR to a witty censure, IIM-Ranchi director M.J. Xavier narrated the story of a greedy man who promised he would sell his goat and offer the money to god if his ailing son recovered.

“When the boy got well, the man sold the goat at Rs 50 and gave the full amount to god. But, he had set a condition for the buyer. He sold the goat for Rs 50 and the rope for Rs 950. Of course, he kept the far bigger amount for himself,” Xavier said, provocatively suggesting that many entrepreneurs try to legitimise their ploy of not sharing profits.

Both Munda and Xavier said that the status of CSR in the state was far from satisfactory.

Munda, in particular, stressed on the need of a change in attitude.

He said that new resources had to be created for business to prosper. “Our natural resources are limited. Developing social, human and knowledge capital can create new resources. It is high time the corporate world thought about how CSR can achieve this,” he said.

Bokaro Steel Limited CEO Anutosh Maitra and CCL chairman-cum-managing director Gopal Singh made promises.

Maitra said BSL would perform a baseline survey to identify the actual needs of residents, Singh said his company would pump in Rs 100 crore a year towards CSR when their coal production touched 200 MT per year by 2020.

Earlier, introducing the topic, Prabhat Khabar chief editor Harivansh said CSR had huge potential if private and public sectors teamed up.


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