CSR in India: About, National Awards, Goal, History, Reports, Role etc.

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What’s the driving factor that is transforming the corporate landscape? Indian corporations are undergoing a transformational shift toward Corporate Social Responsibility. This concept has gained popularity in recent years as a key driver of positive change, empowering businesses to benefit their communities. From voluntary philanthropy to a strategic imperative, CSR in India has become profoundly ingrained in corporate life. Businesses are finally realizing they must address social issues and promote sustainable development beyond profit. This transition is due to legal frameworks, business initiatives, and rising awareness of inclusive growth. From “Dharma” to pioneering industrialists, CSR in India has transformed and inspired.

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About CRS in India

CSR is a voluntary business practice that encourages social accountability inside a firm, to stakeholders, and to the public. Corporate social responsibility, or corporate citizenship, shows firms’ understanding of their economic, social, and environmental impacts. CSR requires a corporation to benefit society and the environment rather than damage them.

Businesses can boost their brand image and improve society by participating in corporate social responsibility, philanthropy, and volunteering. A socially responsible firm serves itself and its stockholders. Major corporations use CSR strategically. 

As a company grows in exposure and success, it must set ethical standards for its peers, rivals, and industry. Despite receiving less public notice than larger organizations, small and midsize enterprises also have social responsibility programs.

CSR National Awards

The India CSR Network founded the India CSR Awards in 2011 to honour successful corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities. The award has been respected by companies and NGOs for 14 years. CSR projects are assessed on creativity, sustainability, scalability, and replicability. The award promotes innovation and inclusivity in India’s neglected and distant regions through corporate activities.

India CSR Awards highlight corporations and societal sectors making significant progress in corporate social responsibility. These awards demonstrate corporations’ positive social and environmental effects when they prioritize purpose.

The list of CSR National Awards in India is:

  • India CSR Awards: 20241
  • Global CSR & ESG Awards: 20242
  • Indian Social Impact Awards: 20243
  • National CSR Leadership Congress & Awards: 20244

Goals of CSR in India

  • To increase corporate social responsibility competition and quality.
  • To encourage corporations to invest all qualifying CSR spend;
  • CSR impact is measured by innovation, technology use, gender and environmental challenges, sustainability, scalability, and replicability.
  • To ensure that corporate social responsibility (CSR) benefits underprivileged and isolated populations.

Historical Background of CSR in India

CSR has become a major part of Indian company practices, demonstrating a commitment to sustainable development and social well-being. Indian CSR began in the late 19th century when pioneering businessman Jamshedji Tata launched the JN Tata Endowment. 

It provided scholarships for Indian students to study abroad, and the Tata Memorial Hospital in Mumbai. The Indian idea of “dharma,” which emphasizes the moral duty of people and communities to society, underpins CSR. Rich merchants, rulers, and people have traditionally donated to their communities in India.

India became the first country to compel CSR expenditure with the Corporations Act of 2013, which required certain eligible corporations to allocate a part of their revenues to CSR efforts. The Act requires firms to spend 2% of their average net income on CSR projects such as,

  • Education
  • Healthcare
  • Environmental sustainability

Indian corporations have changed after obligatory CSR was implemented. Beyond generosity, companies now prioritize sustainable development, community empowerment, and social issues in their CSR efforts. Indian companies have embraced novel CSR strategies, including NGO and government alliances.

These programs have helped close school, healthcare, and livelihood gaps, promoting good social change. Legislation and business paradigm shifts have transformed CSR in India from generosity to strategy. CSR is now crucial to corporate governance and sustainability, helping communities where firms operate.

Reports on CSR in India

Many companies and government agencies publish studies on CSR in India, revealing its successes, challenges, and trends. These papers help firms, policymakers, and stakeholders understand the current scenario and make CSR decisions.

  • Annual CSR reports from the Indian Institute of Corporate Affairs (IICA) analyze CSR expenditure, emphasis areas, and best practices.
  • The Indian government’s High-Level Committee on CSR regularly evaluates CSR rules and proposes improvements.
  • Trade association reports reveal industry-specific corporate social responsibility practices and challenges.

Role of Stakeholders: Government, Corporates, and Civil Society

  • The government, corporations, and civil society organizations work together to make Indian Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives successful.
  • The government sets CSR laws and regulations. They give incentives for corporations to participate in CSR activities and follow standards.
  • Corporations drive CSR programs. They plan and support CSR programs and work with local communities to identify their needs and personalize their initiatives.
  • NGOs and community-based groups are valuable implementation partners. They use their knowledge of local issues to reach out to communities. These businesses also offer knowledge of social and environmental challenges, ensuring that CSR activities are effective and address the most pressing issues.
  • These three stakeholders form a robust ecology that determines Indian CSR. Their collaboration assures well-designed, sufficiently funded, and effectively implemented CSR activities that benefit communities nationwide.

Types of CSR

Environmental responsibility

Corporate social responsibility prioritizes environmental protection. A company can practice environmental stewardship by reducing manufacturing pollution and emissions, recycling, replanting trees, and creating CSR-aligned products.

Ethical responsibility

Corporate social responsibility requires ethics and fairness. Ethical behaviour includes treating consumers equally regardless of age, race, culture, or sexual orientation. It also requires fair compensation and benefits, diverse vendors, comprehensive disclosures, and investor transparency.

Philanthropic responsibility

Companies contribute meaningfully to society through CSR. Donating revenues to charity, partnering with suppliers and vendors who share the company’s charitable beliefs, encouraging workers to participate, and sponsoring fundraising events are examples.

Financial responsibility

A firm may increase its ethics, philanthropy, and environmental commitment. The corporation must support these ambitions by investing in programs, donations, and sustainable product research and development. This creative venture requires a varied workforce and DEI, as well as social awareness and environmental measures.

Read also: Get the information about the CSR Registration for NGOs here.

Advantages of Corporate Social Responsibility

Customers are more inclined to support organizations that focus on their psychological well-being. Company brand recognition improves when it actively participates in CSR projects. Additionally, employees who trust a company are more loyal. This reduces turnover, improves employee happiness, and lowers hiring and training costs.

A corporation can outperform the market by improving investor perception of its value through CSR efforts. A Boston Consulting Group study found that companies that succeed in environmental, social, or governance matters are worth 11% more than their competitors.

Companies can avoid risks and stressful situations by implementing CSR practices. This includes proactively resolving employee group prejudice, responsible use of natural resources, ethical money management, and legal risk avoidance.

Examples of CSR in India

Many Indian corporations have fully embraced CSR and created a positive impact on society. Some prominent examples:

  • Tata Group’s education, healthcare, and rural development programs have changed lives nationwide.
  • Reliance Industries’ Jio-Fiber initiative provides rural areas with inexpensive internet to close the digital divide.
  • Hindustan Unilever’s Project Shakti helps rural Indian women entrepreneurs earn money.
  • ITC Limited’s e-Choupal programme connects farmers to markets, eliminating intermediaries and ensuring fair prices.
  • Infosys Foundation’s education, healthcare, and rural development programs have helped millions in India.

The Future of CSR in India

CSR is changing in India. Businesses prioritize sustainability more. They are actively decreasing carbon emissions, saving resources, and using renewable energy. Enhancing education and skills training is another priority. This is important for rural youth.

CSR has great potential, especially with technology. Technology can improve education, healthcare, and corporate social responsibility monitoring. This helps evaluate CSR commitments. CSR in India faces many challenges. These include achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and making CSR meaningful. 

There are also innovation opportunities. Companies, non-profits, and the government may boost CSR by working together. Companies that prioritize CSR-driven innovation might also earn market share. Customers and investors that value social and environmental responsibility like this.


In short, CSR in India has moved from a charitable idea to a strategic need for enterprises. It promotes sustainable growth and corporate-society harmony. India inspires other nations by embracing CSR with passion. Companies may improve the world and become ethical corporate citizens by connecting their principles with societal well-being. It will be intriguing to see how new and impactful efforts reshape corporate social responsibility in India.

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Shivangi Mishra is a dynamic social activist who is committed to promoting community development and humanitarian causes. She holds a Master's degree in Management from AKTU University and has a deep understanding of societal issues, along with a passion for advocacy. Through her leadership and grassroots initiatives, she has been working with NGOFeed as a Digital Marketing along with content creator on NGOs. The NGOFeed is proud to have Shivangi as a valuable member, as she brings her expertise and unwavering dedication to our shared mission of social transformation.

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