The Center for Economic Fragility & Governance, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, The Department of Management, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, Amritapuri Campus and Center for Governance, Accountability and Law, RMIT University, Melbourne (Australia), jointly organized a Symposium on NGOs and Governance of CSR: The Indian Context on January 5, 2017 at Amritapuri Campus of Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham.
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is a framework whereby companies voluntarily choose to participate in social developmental activities, namely education, health, social safety and cleaner environment. CSR has gained more attention in developing economies where economic transformation placed unprecedented pressures on natural, human and technological resources. In recent years, attempts have been made to enhance private sector involvement in social activities through governmental legislation. In a first move, compulsory CSR reporting requirements (with voluntary participation) have been introduced in some developed countries including Sweden, Norway, the Netherlands, Denmark, France and Australia. In another move, countries like Mauritius, India, Indonesia and Philippines have enacted comprehensive legislation to make CSR mandatory. This renewed attention manifested in legal statutes would have far ranging implications for the functioning of the local government service delivery, given the “local area preference” as a soft conditionality. It is vital to ask however whether private firms are appropriate institutions to provide a public social service, which is apparently in the public domain. Nevertheless, it opens different opportunities for supplemental public good service delivery, public private partnership and autonomous single-purpose and multipurpose service boards under different layers of government. If companies are not directly participating in service provision, they apparently would need special vehicles such as NGOs as service providers. The success of the projects would largely depend on the relationship between companies and NGOs, which may be greatly jeopardized by information asymmetry engendering adverse selection, moral hazard and other agency problems.