Student Corner

As a behavioral neuroscience major, I really did not know what to expect going into my first political science class. Not having a background in political science, I was a bit nervous about the coursework and wondered how this class could contribute to my interests and studies. After spending a semester in comparative politics, I am excited to take back what I have learned when it comes to thinking critically in a comparative way, which will continue to benefit me in all of my endeavors.

The purpose of comparative politics is to provide an array of conceptual and analytical tools that we can use to address and answer a wide range of questions about the social world. In this comparative politics course, students learned and applied these tools to compare issues taking place in the United States with solutions undertaken by other countries addressing similar problems.

 

Interaction between Indian corporations and non-governmental organizations increased widely with the passing of the Indian Companies Act of 2013. In a notice published by the Ministry of Corporate Affairs, companies are directed to work with partners who have “an established track record of three years in undertaking similar programs or projects,” and have been encouraged by the government to partner specifically with NGOs.[1]

Since the liberalization of the economy, Indian companies have experienced rapid growth, becoming globally competitive.  Still, social and economic inclusion has not paralleled the economy’s growth.  The previous government adopted the slogan of inclusive growth while the current government promises rapid employment generation as a path out of poverty. Both have seen the private sector as critical to the future prosperity of the country and its citizens.

Have the new regulations in the 2013 Companies Act done more harm than good? Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is not a novel term for India; in fact, many of India’s larger companies have been undertaking vast social welfare projects long before CSR was considered fashionable, and without receiving recognition.

As more CSR funds flow to social causes, education and health are crowding out other issue areas.

The definition of corporate social responsibility in India is rather unique and follows an approach that combines philanthropy and business strategy. How is the Indian concept of CSR different from what is followed in other countries?

This is a part of a series written by students visiting from the U.S., on CSR practices in India. It was introduced by Nandini Deo in a piece in July titled ‘A brief history of Indian CSR’.

Since the law introduced new requirements for compliance but didn’t attach any penalty for noncompliance, what are companies doing in response? Has mandating CSR given India a leg up in terms corporate giving and social welfare globally? This piece argues that the absence of adequate sanctions undermines the effectiveness of the 2% requirement of the Companies Act.