In the words of William Shakespeare which says “All that lives must die, passing through nature to eternity.”While death is regarded as a natural occurrence, the basic decent treatment that is anticipated and should be provided to the deceased does not always germinate and materialize naturally. We recently had to witness such tragic cases which have not only shocked the entire country but have also witnessed and drawn intervention towards this grave issue from all over the world.
Sightings of dead bodies floating on the bank of the holy river Ganga were reported in the country’s top newspapers. Villagers in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh discovered bodies in the Ganga and Yamuna rivers on May 11, 2021. Ganga, a holy river where people undertake various rituals in relation to ceremonies that are therein mentioned in their holy book, they not only perform ceremonies but also venerate river Ganga for its purity. On May 11, seven bodies wrapped in plastic bags were discovered floating in Uttar Pradesh’s Ghazipur and Hamirpur districts. Similar incidents have also been reported in the Baksar district of Bihar. The greatest concern among residents was that stray dogs and birds would devour the carcasses which would then result in spreading the coronavirus. However, instead of taking action against those responsible for the malafide attacks, the state authorities are now playing a blame game with one another. The world is in danger and the situation has been seen severely detrimental among masses. The heart-rending incidents from these states remind us of the last Mughal emperor and his poetic lament. Unable to find a final resting place in his beloved homeland (India), the last Mughal emperor quite rightly put forth the plight of the dead – Kitna hai badnaseeb Zafar dafn ke liye/Do gazz amen bhi na milikoo-e-yaar mein (How unlucky is Zafar! For burial, even two yards of land were not to be had in the land of his beloved). In the recent past, a ‘novel’ difficulty, similar to the ‘novel’ Corona Virus, has arisen for our contemplation, which would be guided eventually from the foundations of this present article. The article shall examine three major contentions vis-à-vis the issue of dead bodies which were found floating on the banks of river Ganga. Firstly, whether the actions of state authorities being negligent towards the horrendous issue i.e the floating of dead bodies, be condemned? Secondly, the fundamental right of a dead person, enumerated under the constitution of India violated or do we not owe a duty to cremate the deceased respectfully? Third, is there a need to amend the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on management of corpses?
NEGLIGENCE ON PART OF STATE AUTHORITIES
The term other authorities that are enumerated under Article 12 of the constitution of India has given interpretation to the term ‘AUTHORITIES’ by the means of landmark precedents. It is settled law that the State under Article 12 is the custodian of the welfare and wellbeing of its citizens. However, looking at the present scenario the situation seems to be such where the actions on part of state authorities are not at all seems to be custodian but seems to become a warrior against the interest of masses.
Legislation derives its power from the constitutions of India, 1950 which grant the liberal interpretation of Articles 21, 48 and 51(g) by the Hon’ble Judges of Apex court and other courts across the country. In the famous case of Narmada Bachao Andolan v. union of India 2010 SCC 664, The Supreme Court has held that the right to clean water is a fundamental right under article 21 of the Indian constitution. Water prevention and control of pollution act of 1974 is the key specific legislation for preventing water pollution and for taking care and maintaining water bodies. It also aims for promoting for restoration of water bodies. For better implementation of the act, the Central pollution control board and the state pollution control board have been established by the Central and the state government. Under the aforesaid act, the board has the requisite power to encourage and conduct research and investigation with the view of promoting, the prevention of contamination of water in a significant manner and also to add the central government for the matters relating to environmental issues and for the prevention and control of water pollution. In the present issue, the duties and obligations that have been imparted to such boards and the ones enumerated in the aforesaid act have been brazenly ignored by state authorities. They have failed to impart their duties in such remorse condition because of which the lives of masses are now at stake. Hence, because of the aforesaid reason the actions of state authorities should be condemned.
DEAD PERSON TOO HOLDS A FUNDAMENTAL RIGHT
The flagrants acts during the pandemic has resulted in the infringement of various Fundamental Rights guaranteed by our Constitution.The fundamental human rights that are most affected are “Right to Health” and “Right to Life which also includes Right to die with dignity.” In many well-known judgements, the Supreme Court of India and many High Courts agreed that the dead corpse should be treated with proper dignity and treated fairly. The Supreme Court of India recognized that right to life, to fair treatment and dignity, extends not only to a living person but also to their bodies after death. In a landmark judgment (Common Cause, A Regd. Society V. Union of India & Anr.) delivered on 9th March, 2018, the Supreme Court of India held that the right to die with dignity is an intrinsic facet of the right to life under Article 21 of the Constitution of India. In fact, in the year 2007, the Madras high court in the case of S.Sethu Raja vs The Chief Secretary (2007) 5 MLJ 404 had held in Para 18 of the Judgment that the same human dignity (if not more) with which a living being is suppose to be treated by our tradition and our culture should also apply to the dead person and he too holds a right of dignified burial or cremation of a dead body. The right to decent burial is upholding in Indian context, but who is authorized for burial is not explained in any Indian Law. There is a strong societal interest in the proper disposition of the bodies of deceased person. It is universally accepted that a duty is owed to both society and the deceased that the body be buried without any unnecessary delay.
AMENDEDMENT IN THE GUIDELINES AMID COVID-19 IS ‘THE NEED OF THE HOUR’
A document containing ‘Dead Body Guidelines (COVID-19)’ – [hereinafter, ‘Document’], was released by the Directorate General of Health Services (EMR División), Minister of Health and Family Welfare of India on March 15, 2020. To date, it remains unamended and builds on the epidemiological understanding of COVID-19 of the Ministry at present. The aforesaid document lacks some crucial quintessential.
Thereby, the authors would like to propose some takeaways from the other jurisdiction of the nations across the globe, which can be included in the aforesaid guidelines for the benefit of the masses across the country.
The guidelines should be inclusive or seeks to impose a compulsory cremation of the covid-19 victims, which is foremost aimed to prevent local bodies from being able to cremate the body of the deceased overriding his/her religious belief.
In the midst of the global pandemic of covid-19 where graveyards and crematoriums crammed, the locals people of various states are of the view that there emerged shortage of woods for pyre, thereby resulted in the hike in the cost of cremation, whereby this becomes the sole reason why the bodies were buried or seen floating. Hence, the guidelines should impose a reasonable amount or capped a certain amount that crematoriums can charge from families at the time of cremation of a dead body.
Prices should be regulated for hearse or ambulance services so that people are not used and are not exposed to difficulty transporting dead bodies.
The guideline should impose sanction on those people committing horrendous acts such as throwing bodies in rivers, not cremating bodies as per rules enumerated therein.
In order to avoid health risks from smoke emission from burning pyres in large numbers, the use of electric crematoria can be encouraged.
The burial or cremation of masses should not occur because it infringes the right to dignity of the dead.
India has been overwhelmed by a devastating second wave of the pandemic in recent weeks. It has recorded more than 25 million cases and 2,75,000 deaths. But the experts say the real death toll is several times higher. The bodies dumped on the river banks and the funeral pyres burning round the clock and cremation grounds running out of space are the proof that the official tally of deaths represent a substantial undercount of the true burdens. In recent times, various eye opening incidents surfaced through media wherein humans were seen to be treated worse than animals. There were interminable news reports which reported incidents like dumping of corpses in a pit at a burial ground without performing their last rites. Many photographs and videos of the half burnt and decomposed dead bodies have gone viral on social media. In order to stop this menace that is bulging the entire nation, all those aforesaid measure as stated hereinabove should be adopted and the the adminstration should pay heed and curb against all those activities that are disturbing not only the rights of dead person but all the right of a living person.
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SC strikes down ‘a part of 97th amendment’: Does to fulfil the aim of the PIL?
The decision of the Gujarat high court has been upheld by a three-judge bench consisting of R.F. Nariman, K.M. Joseph, and B.R. Gavai. Only Part IXB was stated to be struck down by Justices Nariman and Gavai. However, Justice Joseph stated that the whole of the constitutional amendment has to be stuck down.
The Indian constitution is amongst the most intriguing texts in the world. Still, no nation has a constitution as extensive as ours. Despite its comprehensiveness, the reason this text is so intriguing is that it is highly adaptable. The framers of the constitution intended it to be non-rigid and should flourish the country to grow with it. As a result, the government of India has the authority to modify the constitution in response to numerous problems raised under Article 368 of the Constitution of India. An individual being a citizen of a democratic country as India has a right given by the Constitution that can be challenged any amendment made to the Constitution and when they do that it creates an obligation on the court of law to examine the matter in issue on the bases of its merits.
Along with the amendments in several legislations, some obligations are related to the Constitution. As the parliament derives its power to amend through Constitution, it is also necessary to follow the necessary procedures. Presently, the question was raised on the 97th amendment of the Constitution. It was bought in the Gujarat High Court by the way of PIL. The name of the case stands as Rajendra N. Shah v Union of India. However, the same was appealed to the Supreme Court to strike down the decision of the Gujarat High Court.
WHAT IS 97TH AMENDMENT ALL ABOUT?
The 97th amendment to the Constitution came as a dilemma. The main cause of this amendment was to look after the working of the cooperative societies and amend some of its rules and regulations. By the way of amendment, Article 19(1) (c) was amended. This was done to give protection to Article 43B of the Constitution. Article 43B of the Constitution states the promotion of cooperative societies. Also, Part IXB was inserted. The amendment was passed without being ratified by the State Legislatures. This led to the non-following of the procedure required by the Constitution.
Part IXB consists of Articles 243ZH to 243ZT. The articles in total have impacted the powers of state legislatures. It does not only restrict the powers but, has also paved a way for interference. Also, the amendment has bought the doctrine of basic structure in the scenario by making amendments to non-amendable parts of the constitution.
OVERVIEW OF THE DECISION OF GUJARAT HIGH COURT
In 2012 a writ petition was filed by Mr Rajendra N. Shah (hereinafter referred as petitioner) in the High Court of Gujarat at Ahmedabad through PIL. The major contention dealt with the 2011 amendment to the Constitution of India that the embedding Part IXB comprising Articles 243ZH to 243ZT violates the Indian Constitution since it does not make use of Article 368(2) of the Constitution, which requires the expressed ratification by a majority of the State Legislatures.
Apart from this petition, several other similar petitions were filed. The main challenge was to strike down the additions done via the 97th amendment, the argument of the petitioners was not for striking down the provisions but, for ratification by half of the state. The reason being, the amendment affected a subject that was present in the state list.
The petition expressly stated that the power under Article 368 is related to the basic structure of the Indian Constitution, and the fact that the impugned constitutional amendment did not follow the procedure prescribed in Article 368(2) of the Constitution, which recognizes the federal structure of the Constitution as one of the basic structures, is a violation of the Constitution of India. According to the petitioner, the State Legislature is the only competent authority in law to enact laws for cooperative societies as the same does not fall under the VII Schedule Entry 45 of List I of the Constitution, and that it is expressly excluded from Entry No. 43 of List and the proposed amendment should be set aside as violative of the Indian Constitution because the consent by way of ratification from the majority of State Legislatures was not obtained before presenting the Bill proposing the amendment to the President of India as provided in Article 368 (2).
The Gujarat High Court held in the present case that the amendment was taking away the necessary powers of state governments. On July 20, 2021, the apex court upheld the decision of the high court and has saved the supremacy of State Governments. Also, this amendment would have led to extensive interference of centres in subject matters of state. This judgment has been delivered by keeping in mind the federal structure of the Indian Constitution.
ARTICLE 368: IMPORTANCE AND HISTORY
As stated above, one of the major reasons for challenging the 97th amendment is that it was not done by complying with Article 368 of the Constitution. The main reason behind this is the “basic structure doctrine”. Before the applicability of this doctrine, even fundamental rights were amendable by the virtue of Article 368. With the series of judgements, the doctrine developed and some parts of the constitution were held to be non-amendable.
Mainly, in the case of I.C. Golaknath v State of Punjab and Haryana, it was held that the amendment of fundamental rights cannot be authorised. As, due to this, fundamental rights will vanish one day. So, parliament cannot amend them. Similarly, in the case of Keshvananda Bharati v State of Kerala, it was held that some of the basic features of the constitution cannot be amended as they will affect the federal structure of the constitution.
In India, we follow a rule of checks and balances. It is necessary to keep a check on the amendments made. One more important case is I.R Coelho by L.Rs v State of Tamil Nadu and ors. The main issue in the case was if Schedule IX of the Constitution can be amended by the virtue of Article 368 or not? It was held that any amendment made to Schedule IX is against the doctrine of basic structure. Also, Article 368 cannot be amended to allow the same.
Hence, when it comes to stating the importance and history of Article 368, it is an important asset to the doctrine of basic structure. It is against the basic principles to breach the basic features of the constitution. The same is being argued in the present case related to the 97th amendment. The position of Article 368 still stands the same and thus it cannot amend the basic structure of the Constitution.
THE DECISION OF THE SUPREME COURT AND ITS ANALYSIS
The decision of the Gujarat high court has been upheld by a three-judge bench consisting of R.F. Nariman, K.M. Joseph, and B.R. Gavai. Only Part IXB was stated to be struck down by Justice R.F. Nariman and B.R. Gavai. However, Justice K.M. Joseph stated that the whole of the constitutional amendment has to be stuck down.
As a consequence of the judgment, not the whole of the amendment has been struck down but, only a part of it. It has been stated that: We have struck down Part IXB but, have saved the Constitutional Amendment”. It has been contended that the part denudes the state of their powers but also restricts them. It has also been contended that the amendment is not a direct attack on the power of state legislatures in regards to cooperatives.
The other opinion that has been given about the amendment is that to achieve uniformity in the amendment, it was necessary to take recourse to Article 252 of the Constitution. This article states that it is necessary to take the consent of two or more states to bring any such amendments. Presently, the same is being challenged as the 97th amendment has been made without complying with the appropriate procedure. Hence, relying on the precedents, makes it clear that the amendment made to Part IXB of the Constitution is against the doctrine of basic structure and hence has been struck down by the Supreme Court.
The criticism for the amendment can also be seen through various opinions. One such opinion from All India Kisan Sabha states that these amendments are making India centralized which will, in turn, destroy the federal structure. To keep the working inflow, it is necessary to keep the powers with the states intact and not to include the Centre in it.
However, mixed opinions have been observed. The other side states that many of the states had already amended the legislatures according to the Constitutional Amendment. This calls for keeping the amendment intact as it is necessary for keeping a check on the activities in the state. This judgment now requires the pre-amendment of several legislatures in the states.
The decision of the High Court states that the provisions of amendment about cooperative societies lead to violation of the basic structure of federalism. The amendment was challenged based on various loopholes. One of them was, the process of amendment was not followed. Secondly, the provisions are an attack on the powers of state legislatures. Thirdly, the provisions are not following the federal feature of the constitution. Fourthly, the provisions are not empowering cooperative societies.
The judgment given by the apex court is vital. It has stated the main issues with their solutions. Striking down only part of the amendment states that no whole of the amendment was incorrect. Only the part that was being inconsistent has been removed. Various views are coming out. It has made it necessary to follow the procedures as established by law to avoid such circumstances.
Along with the amendments in several legislations, some obligations are related to the Constitution. As Parliament derives its power to amend through Constitution, it is also necessary to follow the necessary procedures. Currently, the question was raised on the 97th amendment of the Constitution. It was bought in the Gujarat High Court by the way of PIL. The name of the case stands as Rajendra N. Shah v Union of India. However, the same was appealed to the Supreme Court to strike down the decision of the Gujarat High Court.
MAKING IT HAPPEN: COMBATING PANDEMIC THROUGH PUBLIC-PRIVATE PARTNERSHIP
The recent wave of Covid-19 pandemic spread like a ‘tsunami’ in India. The second wave was worse than the first one. There could be several factors responsible for the huge spike in number of cases and its severity in the second wave as compared to the first, but it was a herculean task for any government to handle a pandemic of such scale and impact.
Among many other things from augmenting medical oxygen to post-covid complications like black fungus, ramping up critical care infrastructure to save lives was one of the major challenges faced by Governments. In this backdrop, Dr. P.S Harsha, an IPS officer was appointed as Nodal officer and head of the Mission on 30th of April to set up 500 ICU beds in each of the 8 BBMP zones.
At the time he was appointed as a Nodal officer, the situation was very challenging. In the first week of May, Bengaluru had about 10,937 beds reserved for Covid-19 patients out of which about 559 beds were ICU beds and about 478 beds were ICU beds with ventilator. When the city was still around 2 weeks away from the peak, more than 95% of the beds were occupied. There was shortage of ICU beds, ventilators faced by most of the hospitals. To make matters worse, there was also shortage of oxygen supply.
The Mission had three main objectives. First, to immediately assess the requirement of critical care infrastructure which broadly included Oxygenated beds, HDU, ICUs. Second, to visualize a feasible operational plan and an implementation structure to create the infrastructure as assessed by experts and relevant departments of the Government tackling the COVID 19 crisis. And, the third, to put up an elaborate action plan with implementation framework delineating clearly the roles and responsibilities of various departments of Government and functionaries involved. To facilitate the above upgradation of infrastructure, ensuring adequate manpower availability is necessary to put up a coordinated effort on the ground.
Karnataka Government adopted a whole-of-government and whole-of-society approach to ramp up health infrastructure on war-footing. The Chief Minister gave a clarion call appealing to corporate sector to come forward and join hands with the government to combat the virus. Bengaluru, home to several marquee MNCs, received overwhelming response to CM’s call and several companies came forward to leverage their CSR initiatives towards Covid-19 relief and rehabilitation efforts. However, coordinating and collaborating with all these agencies and institutions to increase scale and speed was the challenge. In order to reduce the turnaround time and optimize costs it was decided to go ahead with brownfield approach instead of greenfield approach where government identified public hospitals and teaching hospitals attached to medical colleges. The idea was to use existing general beds and convert them into ICU beds, so that the healthcare personnel and other required manpower could be readily made available.
The Indian Institute of Architects, Karnataka Chapter and Columbia Asia Hospitals came forward as technical partners to this mission, for conducting the baseline assessment for the facilities identified for bed augmentation. They agreed to carry out these services pro-bono. A team of senior architects along with experts in the field of hospital design assisted in conducting surveys at the hospital, and preparing the proposal, including cost estimations for the same.
The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), through its Karnataka chapter and CII Foundation have acted as a conduit to channelize CSR funding from Corporates into healthcare facilities. Also, CII through its foundation has facilitated an institutional mechanism to channelize individual contributions as well to this mission.
As of July 22, 2.82 crore vaccine doses have been administered in Karnataka, the highest among all South Indian states. Initially, due to a lot of rumour mongering, there was vaccine hesitancy. But subsequently, this hesitancy was gone. Print media, TV and hoardings were used to promote vaccination drives. However, what really worked was the reassurance from religious leaders and celebrities. Intervention by the local district administrations that interacts with people on a daily basis also helped in convincing people, even in rural areas. It is expected that the entire population will be vaccinated by the end of the year.
The outcomes of this initiative have been very encouraging. Though the mission has initially started for infrastructure upgradation in the city of Bangalore, there has been tremendous response from districts’ administration to scale up the mission pan Karnataka.
About 1090 beds are at different stages of augmentation, of which 204 beds have already been set up and operational, 390 are under progress and corporates are being tied up for the rest.
About 24 beds have been set up in Jayanagar General Hospital by Embassy and AZU. CV Raman General Hospital has got 56 beds through contribution from 3M, Hitachi, ABB Power Grids and Volvo Group. Another 24 beds are operational in Epidemic Diseases hospital which is set up in collaboration by Embassy Group, McAfee, AXA, Yahoo, Capital Land Swiss Re. In addition, 100 beds have been added at Yelahanka by Boeing, Celko Foundation and KPCL.
The implementation of 190 beds being set up by Texas Instruments, Modulus and Swasti Agency is underway at Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Chest Diseases (RGICD).
Infosys has also provided equipment worth INR 1.5 crore in Anekal General Hospital, KR Puram and Yelahanka General Hospital. Wells Fargo (in collaboration with UnitedWay) is setting up 100 bedded modular hospital at Gadag Institute of Medical Science (GIMS), Gadag. 40 beds are being augmented at Indira Gandhi Institute of Child Health (IGICD) by 3M, Embassy, CII Foundation Swiss Re foundation, ICEMA. Oxygen plant is also being set up at IGICD by Lowes India and Sambhav Foundation. M/s HDFC Bank Limited is undertaking infrastructure upgradation activities at ESI Rajajinagar hospital. Indian American Foundation is setting up 100 beds at Shikaripura Taluk General.Hospital in Shivamogga District. Organisations like M/s Doctors for you, M/s LabourNet, etc., have taken an initiative to partner with the government in bridging the manpower shortages, wherever required.
In addition to the above, infrastructure upgradation activities are in pipeline at various other hospitals like HMT Hospital, Taluk Hospital in Doddaballapur, Devanahalli, Nelamangala and Hoskote and ESI Hospitals in Indiranagar and Peenya, etc. Also, plans are underway to set up Oxygen plants in Kodagu, Shimoga and Gadag districts through CSR mode.
Dr.Harsha and his entire team of dedicated personnel made-it-happen.. The use of CSR funds and the initiative to involve corporate was an outcome of a well-defined strategy by the team. Apart from utilization of CSR Funds, the industry was willing to contribute 50 Oxygen concentrators and 50 non-invasive Bilevel Positive Airway Pressure (BIPAP) ventilators. Such proactive interventions reflect the confidence that the government had built with the industry to augment necessary health infrastructure through the CSR initiative. Government’s decision to take the CSR route to ramp up critical health infrastructure, even as the second wave retreats, reflects the continued focus to ensure preparedness for the third wave.
The initiative taken under the inspired leadership of Dr Harsha has set many benchmarks in public-private cooperation. It also illustrates that there is enormous scope for cooperation between the public and private sectors when it comes to handling a crisis.
Anil Swarup has served as the head of the Project Monitoring Group, which is currently under the Prime Minister’s Offic. He has also served as Secretary, Ministry of Coal and Secretary, Ministry of School Education.
WILL MAMATA’S ALLIANCE GAME PAY OFF?
Politics heats up after Mamata Banerjee’s meeting with Sonia Gandhi; they are giving the slogan ‘Save democracy, save nation’.
Even as Mamata Banerjee went to meet Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi at their residence during her Delhi visit, I recalled the West Bengal election! For Mamata, it was a matter of political life and death as the Bharatiya Janata Party had left no stone unturned to defeat her. Every trick in the bag was being tried. Mamata Banerjee must have expected that secular parties would support her against the BJP. Of course, the major onus for this was on the Congress, but Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi did not show any mercy to Mamata.
Congress entered into an electoral alliance with the Indian Secular Front under Pirzada Abbas Siddiqui of Furfura Sharif. It was a great loss for Mamata. It is, however, another matter that it hardly had any effect on Mamata’s electoral fortunes. She returned to power with about 48 per cent of the votes and the Congress ended up with just 2 per cent of the votes and it could not win even a single seat. It is evident that Mamata must have been upset with the attitude of the Congress, but the political maturity she has shown for the sake of opposition unity has only added to her stature. Putting aside her displeasure and the bitterness of the West Bengal elections, she went to meet Sonia Gandhi at her residence where Rahul Gandhi was also present. So Mamata’s message is clear that for opposition unity, she will not mind going to every doorstep where there is a ray of hope. Although she could not meet Sharad Pawar, both of them must have definitely spoken over the phone.
I had written in these columns during the run-up to West Bengal Assembly elections that Mamata Banerjee will return to power after which she will work at the national level. And this has already begun. I perceive a big deal of change in Mamata Banerjee. Certainly she is a well-mannered, very experienced and outspoken politician. Her whole life is a saga of struggle. She has understood the exigencies of time very well. Her maturity is reflected in the fact that on one hand she meets Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Delhi and on the other, she seeks to evolve a strategy for opposition unity. During the press conference, she once again raised the slogan ‘Save democracy, save nation’. Her message to the opposition parties is crystal clear that the need of the hour is unity of opposition parties. This is also her right as a people’s representative. It is crucial to have a strong opposition party in a democracy and this is also a healthy tradition of Indian politics. The country’s first Prime Minister Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru also favoured a strong Opposition. Pandit Nehru also exemplified this by his own conduct. He facilitated the entry of many leaders of national stature inside the Parliament.
Mamata Banerjee may have defeated the Narendra Modi-led BJP in West Bengal, but she knows that without the Congress at the national level, the opposition unity cannot be strengthened. She knows that over the years the Congress has become headless and moved away from the people on the ground, but even today the grand old party has about 30 per cent of the vote share and its roots are spread from villages to cities. And if the Congress wakes up for the better, it will take no time to completely change the political landscape.
Mamata Banerjee also knows that the Bharatiya Janata Party she has pitted herself against has changed completely. It is not the BJP of leaders like Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Lal Krishna Advani or Murli Manohar Joshi. It is now a Narendra Modi-led BJP. Narendra Modi created his own culture in politics. He has become the high command of BJP today. He is the most popular leader of the party. He has also carved out a special place in the RSS, the progenitor of the BJP. Though Modi ji comes from the Sangh Parivar itself, he has a different way of thinking and working. If such Narendra Modi-led BJP is to be wrestled with and defeated at the national level, the different forces opposed to the BJP will have to be united. And this cannot be done without Congress. It is not possible to dislodge Modi ji without Congress on board.
Mamata Banerjee has vast experience in overthrowing the two-and-a-half-decade-old government of the cadre-based Communist Party of India (M) and remaining in power for more than a decade. She is a grassroots leader, a past master at street politics and not afraid to face brute force. She is ready for every battle like a fearless warrior. Certainly, she is packed with confidence and hence if the opposition parties come together, the BJP can be vanquished at the Centre.
Now the moot question is whether Congress is ready for such an alliance? If yes, how would it like to see itself in the alliance? The question also is, if Congress does tag along, will it accept Mamata Banerjee or Sharad Pawar as its leader? Will the regional party leaders like Akhilesh Yadav agree to accept Mamata’s leadership?
The questions are aplenty. The answers to these questions will decide the direction of Indian politics. And the biggest question is will the alliance win the battle against Modi ji with the mere chanting of the slogan ‘Save democracy, save nation’?
The author is the chairman, Editorial Board of Lokmat Media and former member of Rajya Sabha.
After defeating the BJP in West Bengal, Mamata Banerjee is exploring the possibility of bringing about Opposition unity but the question is: Will the Congress accept her leadership? And if the alliance is formed, what will be the role of Sharad Pawar? Will the politics of Uttar Pradesh accept Mamata Banerjee as the national leader?
Politics and governance in India: An analysis
Political instability has been a recurring phenomenon in the history of mankind with the fall and rise of political systems or regimes. The term ‘political stability’ means different things to different scholars as there is a lack of consensus among social scientists on its exact meaning.
In the general notions of stability such as social or psychological, economic, cultural and political, political stability is one of the most morally imperative in building the nation state. This article discusses the roots (why, what), past trends of political instability in India. In addition to this the expedient taken to satisfy the salient conditions of successful government or stabilise it. But it had been known since Independence then why is there still political instability? the inter and intra party workers reciprocate or retaliate? Is the balanced approach decisive?
In general the notion of “stability” depends on the social or psychological, economic and political conditions and projecting the ‘trends’ and ‘patterns’ of any nation. Political instability or ‘in’ stability has been a recurring phenomenon in the history of mankind with the fall and rise of the political system or regimes. The term ‘political stability’ means different things to different scholars as there is a lack of consensus among the Social Scientists on its exact meaning. Due to technological advancement, increase in communication and the process of modernisation in the last century has seen significant changes in nature and patterns of political instability. It is not static (government in structure, process, policy making) and keeps changing. That is dynamic. Changing notions about the causes and characteristics of new forms of government, their conceptions, outcomes and cures have been major concerns and components for individuals in formation of the durable or their ideal government. For stability or finding the precise definition of stability depends on the various transparent statistical indicators. Justice Potter Stewart in this view of immorality says that “I know it when I see it.” For that the portrayal should be in a clearer sense on exactly what we are looking for. In the federal system like India, a government at state and center, their ministerial stability is different from each other and to some extent protected from each other. Thus, it can be said that the state may undergo periods of instability while the central government remains stable, as seen in the numerous cases since India’s independence. On the other hand, the state governments may be unstable and ineffective while the central government may be stable as in the Janata period (1977-1980). This instability can have numerous effects with multiple issues or a single issue with an extreme pace of destruction and can be dangerous when it occurs.
According to the Aristotle thought on polity as he divide into the general (monarchy, aristocracy, oligarchy, or democracy) and particular sense to avoid the extremes as in after the fusion of the democratic and oligarchic elements, he intensely disliked both the extreme richness and extreme poverty and believed confidence that powers should be vest with the middle class in the best practicable state (middle class in majority with poor taken together preferably more than the richer class). Professor Maxey criticises Aristotle’s middle class on the ground that “middle-class mediocrity is no shining deal for the foundation of a state.” However this criticism goes to the consonant of Aristotle’s saying that polity is not the best ideal state, rather it is best on the average and practicable. The most stable and administered states have been under the control of the middle class. In this context or a one part for the stability that is the middle class is one of the most important contributions to political thought.
But from where this instability has its roots? The reason for the political instability in India or its main characteristics depends on the various factors such as deepening economic crises, breakdown of a political consensus, improper responsiveness and responsibility, rising expectations, core issues like population explosion (their increased pressures or need of services and other demands), unemployment, casteism (politicisation of caste, improper representation and inequity, caste based violence and politics), poverty and so on. It is in detail in the fifth section of this article.
There are the three components of political stability that are society, regime, and government. These components are interrelated to each other and the extent of the stability depends on all three. The first component in short means the societal demands which are proposed in an orderly and peaceful manner. There can be a violent use that is against the norms associated with democratic polity. It is nearly impossible that there is no use of violence in any political system but the degree is reduced in accordance with the political culture of that particular country. The second component is of a stable regime or a form of government which is long lasting, durable and has a tendency to be stable under the strains and stressful conditions. Where this regime is weak, it leads to dictatorship and military rule. The third component is of government and administration which remains for the specific duration in an office in accordance with the constitution and the flexibility in the government with the legal trends. In brief there should be balance between the policy to be executed and the legal and social forces in the country. For example, The decision-making machinery must be in an adequate constant to allow a sufficient time to execute rational decisions in order to maintain legitimacy of the regime, and keep control over the various social forces of the society.
History of the Political stability of Independent India: The period between 1967 and 1972 has seen a tremendous political instability with the dilution of the one-party dominance that was congress and further formation of the coalition governments. In a broader sense the political stability in the history can be divided into four components, first one-party dominance (for the two decades after the independence) from the first to the fourth general elections (1952-1967 represents a phase of political instability), second the period between the fourth and the fifth general elections (1967-1972 breakdown of a political consensus), third the period between fifth and the sixth general elections (1972-1977 signifies temporary return to calm situation) and lastly the fourth period post-1977 and in the 1980s represents the worst kind of instability, disorder and violence in India. For instance, strike is a legitimate legal protest in most of the democratic institutions but the intensity of it can affect political stability.
WHY IS POLITICAL INSTABILITY?
Population: As the population demands of jobs, services, housing and above all, food place a heavy burden on India’s limited resources. A Population crisis committee finds that “the most stable countries were ones with a lower level of population pressure.” Growing population is a threat to democracy as the potential for political instability correlates with various factors such as “large youth population in overcrowded cities with high expectations and limited opportunities, intense religious factors and oppressive governments which violate human rights.” India’s leaders have been disappointed after the current growth rate of 0.97 percent from 2020 which is indeed harmful for India’s largest democratic survival.
Education: There is a lack of political participation or political consciousness in elections. As the major votes turnout in India is due to the greater capacity of political parties to mobilise the support and the self awareness of the individual as well as rational decision making in choosing their representatives totally depends on education. On the other hand, increased political consciousness is also present which has made people more aware of poverty or their vulnerability to raise voice. As the expectations of the people turn into disappointment these people’s frustration expiates politically, and which turn out to be demonstrations and revolutionary violence that has become a pattern in Indian elections. Hence, it leads to political instability.
Economic growth and corruption: “Economic growth and Political instability are deeply interconnected.” If there is an unstable political environment then it can lead to “less investment and reduce the pace of economic development.” On the other side of the coin, poor economic growth can lead to the breakdown of government and political unrest. Indian Political regimes are fragile because if the country does not worry about the conflicts and radical changes of regimes, the people can focus on working, saving and investing. In today’s world there are many countries that combine the robust factor of corruption with the opposite to the politically stable that leads to the ‘politically stable autocracies’ or unstable democracies.
There is the other perspective (sometimes it is important to normalise the euphoric thing or anything to have a different perspective) that, if there is political stability then it does not allow real competition for the ‘governed elites.’ Political system has a stringent barrier on freedom such as freedom of press, freedom of religion, access to the internet and political dissent and this leads to the abuse of power and corruption. The related issues of political corruption (more about political and economic power) were “use of public office for private gain, where an official entrusted with carrying out a task by the public engages in some sort of “malfeasance” for private benefit.” This can of course happen in the private sector too but it is not a main foundation of our country, no doubt may become that’s another thing. But the current stand gives rise to the “immoral” and “corrupt” transactions in the government sector.
HOW TO STABILISE THE POLITICS OF INDIA
Political thinkers have made substantial contributions to the theory to ascertain some fundamental requirements of political stability. For example, the crucial ones are equitable distribution of wealth, attitude towards the state, equal class structure, appropriate political institutions, etc.
Approaches which can be used for the proper understanding of the political phenomenon in India or stabilise the politics in India are:
Political stability as against a violence: This is the most common view that if there will be absence of violence then the decision making and socio-political changes are properly institutionalised. Dissent is necessary in healthy democracy but through electoral competition rather than the violent process. The motive is to resolve the issues without conflict and aggression within the political system against other individuals and groups of office-holders.
Existence of the legitimate constitutional orders: The legitimacy in the political system to the extent it’s output is accepted as right by the population. There should be no legitimacy disturbance or even if it is disturbed then it should be restored soon to its original state.
Existence of the Multi Dimensional societal attribute: In depth study and cross-national analysis on the aggregate data is important as a purpose of multidimensional attribute. It means that taking society as a multifaceted factors that absence of the several negative indicators such as violence, revolution, political movement against the existing system and the presence of positive indicators such as both constitutional rigidity and flexibility, not only government longevity but also adaptability of the changing social patterns, effective decision making, and more. For Palmer and Stern, political stability can be maintained as“the result of integration and congruence of all phases of traditional life: political, social, economic and ecological.” Ernest A. Duff and John F. McCamant believed that “social and political factors influence political stability/instability of a political system.” They appear to be confused about the stability constituted by societal factors and only suggest that in a stable democracy “welfare must be greater than social mobilisation, and there must be a high rate of economic growth, an equitable income distribution, and broad based institutionalised political party.”
Concluding observations: Each of the conceptual approaches have their own strength and weakness, they have certainly contributed towards the understanding of complex problems of political instability. But a simple application of these approaches cannot help to explain the intricacies and sensitive problem of political stability in Indian states. This leads to the inadequacy of existing theories of political stability which calls for a more realistic approach and takes into consideration the special constitutional features of the working of parliamentary democracy at the state level in India. Thus, the question is how Political stability should be operated? Answer is: It is based on working on both sides equally, the stability of the government in the parliamentary system depends on the support of the representatives in the legislature. If the assembly divided into the political parties and the government become uncertain and the solid state of a government is not established. Hence, a fine balance between the legislature and government is based on the strong institutionalised political institutions.
As written earlier about the three major components of political stability that are “society, regime and government.” The third component that is government is a major source affecting the other two in political stability. Although different socio-ecopolitical cultural, regional and ethnic groups made frequent use of “violent and non-violent methods to exert the pressure on the government to accept their demands.” It even leads to the change in government, but by and large these groups demonstrate their loyalty to political and social regimes. If there is government instability it can majorly affect the other two. But in India no joint attempt has been made by social groups to overthrow political regimes that are parliamentary democratic systems. Balanced approach, interdependence and implementing according to the short-term and long-term situations is a realistical, practicable and theoretical approach. Therefore, it must come after.
Uttar Pradesh Population Bill, 2021: An analysis
India’s population is not really growing at a fast pace as it is made out to be; in fact, as per Census, India’s population has registered a sharp decrease in a span of two decades—population growth rate dropped from 21.54% in 1991-2000 to 17.64% in 2001-2011. Moreover, India’s fertility rate has dropped to 2.3 births per women in 2016 compared to 3.2 births per women in 2000. Also, population growth is not uniform across the nation with a rate varying from region to region. Sikkim, for example, has the lowest fertility rate as compared to Bihar which has the highest in India.
There is one thing India is prominently known for; it’s population, the second highest in the world. And we know that India has never worn population badge proudly. For decades successive governments have tried their best to control population but couldn’t achieve the desired goal.
After the government’s announcement to introduce new population policy for 2021-2030, the Uttar Pradesh State Law Commission on the occasion of World Population Day i.e- 11th July, has released the first draft of the bill aimed at the population control. The draft has been titled as “Uttar Pradesh Population (Control, Stabilisation and Welfare) Bill, 2021”. The bill has enlisted incentives for those limiting their families to two children or less. However disincentives or non-adherence to the two-child norm have also been laid down.
As per the law comes in force, there are certain incentives for the public servants, state government employees who voluntarily undergo sterilisation and adopts the two child policy are eligible for two additional increments during the entire service, subsidy towards purchase of plot or house site, soft loans for house purchasing, rebate on charges for utilities such as water, electricity, house tax etc, maternity/paternity leave for 12 months will full salary and allowances, and other such incentives. However non-adherence to the policy might attract disincentives such as debarring from benefit of the government sponsored welfare schemes, limitation of ration card up to four people. Apart from this on enactment of law one violating it shall be ineligible to contest the election to local authority or any body of the local self-government and apply for the government job under the state government. There are several exemptions as well like multiple births out of second pregnancy and adoption. If the first or first two child are disabled then third pregnancy will not be considered as violation. There are also provisions for polygamy and polyandrous marriages as well.
The bill lists out some government duties as well. It states that maternity centre will be established at all the primary health centres, the centres and NGO’s will distribute contraceptive pills, condoms, etc. The family planning methods awareness will be spread through community health workers and ensure mandatory registration of pregnancies, deliveries, births and debts across the state. Also it will be duty of the government to introduce a compulsory subject relating to the population control in all of the secondary schools.
As per the Population Census of 2011, majority of population is between the age of 5 years to 20 years and there have been an exponential increment in its pace since 2011.
India’s population is not really growing at a fast pace as it is made out to be in fact as per census India’s population has registered a sharp decrease in a span of two decades population growth rate went from 21.54% in 1991 to 2000 to 17.64% in 2001 to 2011. Moreover India’s fertility rate has dropped to 2.3 births per women in 2016 compared to 3.2 births per women in 2000. Also population growth is not uniform across the nation with a rate varying from region to region, for example – Sikkim has the lowest fertility rate as compared to Bihar which has the highest in India.
India does have a population control bill if we are to talk about it but it has never been passed. In 2016 and 2019 the population regulation bill was stabled and discussed but it never went to vote. The bill penalizes those having more than two children debarring from political participation, government jobs and even government schemes while India does not have a national law on population control yet individuals states are implementing their own versions of it with most of state laws penalizes families for having more than two children.
Then why the bill has not been passed and is not a law yet?
If the government were to bring in a law to control population, there are number of repercussions it could produce. Firstly during the 1970’s emergency period India Strikes forced sterilization which didn’t go down well. Also the family planning program mostly targeted the poor, some accounts state that men were dragged away forcefully for vasectomies many of whom also died due to complications and unhygienic practices. Secondly we have an example of our neighbouring country China as its one child policy gives a wider glimpse into the ills of adopting such a law. China now struggles with disproportionate numbers of aging population as compared to the younger population. The one child policy also resulted in one of the world’s most skewed sex ratio with 1.15 males for every female in China as per the data available for 2016. While China has since ended the policy but its impact continues to linger. Thirdly China’s concern could be India’s too as the country still has preference for male children. According to Sample registration system SRS report shows that sex ratio at birth in India decreased from 906 females to every 1000 males in 2011 to 899 females in 2018. The normal sex ratio at birth is 950 females to 1000 males. Broadly the primary victims of the Draft Bill will be Indian women in general, of this generation as well as future generation. In many areas already women do not have the option to refuse marriage or to reproduce and several are forced to undergo non-voluntary birth control measures. The 1991 census found that in states which has penalized with more than two children had resulted in men divorcing their wives as soon as they become pregnant with the third child.
These habits will only intensify under a law that passively legitimises such actions, including forced sterilisation, IUD insertion and use of hormonal contraceptives (even when they may be medically inadvisable). Female infanticide will also likely worsen, from the current skew of 909 female births per 1,000 male births.
And lastly the burden of family planning disproportionately falls on women the national family health survey for data shows that out of 47.8% of the total modern contraception used in India 41.6 are for the use of women or bodies with uterus, more than 75 of the overall modern contraceptive used in India is bored by the women while contraception has drastically declined. In an unintended effect, the Bill will ensure the continued marginalisation and erasure of women from public life.
This Bill seeks to revitalize the efforts and provide for measures to control, stabilize and provide welfare to the population of the state by implementing and promoting two child norms. However the basic rule under the Constitution is equality of opportunity for every person in the country. The provisions of the Constitution mandate the State to give preferential treatment to only socially, educationally or economically disadvantaged people. It does not provide for similar reservations on the basis of the birth of the children. UNESCO defines educational discrimination as “any distinction, exclusion, limitation or preference which being based on race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, economic condition or birth has the purpose or effect of nullifying or impairing the equality of treatment in education.”
According to the Draft Bill, if a person acts in contravention of two child policy, then that person shall be ineligible to avail any incentives and shall be subject to disincentives like debarring them from government sponsored welfare schemes and limit upto four will imposed on ration card. It is not specified whether a person will be barred from State welfare schemes or Central welfare schemes. It is open ended clause and implies if a third child is born, he will not be provided with social benefits like right to food, right to housing. There are many welfare schemes that operate under Central government and States are bound to follow and every person who is eligible under Central government welfare schemes cannot be barred. Like Anganwadi and Mid-day Meal schemes. The objective of this scheme is to combat child hunger and malnutrition. The Midday Meal scheme provides food to school children in schools in order to avoid the classroom. hunger, increase school enrollment and address malnutrition. Funding pattern of midday meal schemes is 60:40 between the Central and State governments. It is covered under National food Security act 2013 (NFS) and the state government is bound to implement the NFS act and midday meal scheme. And all children studying in Primary and Upper Primary Classes in Government, Govt. Aided, Local Body, EGS and AIE Centres, Madarsa and Maqtabs supported under Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan and NCLP Schools run by Ministry of Labour are eligible for Mid-Day Meal. Thus, the state government cannot bar the welfare rights of having the right to food to any child as it comes under ambit of the Central government and state government is bound to implement. So, according to the provision of UP population policy if a person does not adhere to the two-child norm policy, the state bars the third child from government welfare schemes. But the State is bound to implement these welfare schemes and eligible persons cannot be barred.
The Draft Bill, especially sections 5, 6 and 7, contemplates additional incentives than the ones prescribed under the general scheme of the bill. Section 5 lays down that public servant who have only one child and who opt for “voluntary sterilization operation upon himself or spouse, in addition to the incentives provided in the usual scheme under the present Bill”. Section 7 is mutatis mutandis to that of its preceding part except it extends to the general public And Section 8 moves a step further and is applicable to the “couple living below poverty line”. The concern that is raised here is that if in the normal course of action and without any due process of law, the state tries to sterilise its citizens to advance the limited child policy as is the general scheme of the present act, it will be unconstitutional on multiple fronts specially violating the right to life and personal liberty under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution.
The state’s fertility rate is 2.7% which is second most in the country after the Bihar which has the fertility rate of 3.2 whereas it should ideally be less than 2.1%.
The estimation is that while India may remain the country with the highest population perhaps even overtaking china one day the population will gradually decrease naturally.
The data states that in Uttar Pradesh there are limited ecological and economic resources at hand hence, it is necessary and urgent that the provision of basic necessities of the human life including affordable food and safe drinking water, decent housing, access to quality education, economic livelihood opportunities, power or electricity for domestic consumption and a secure living is accessible to all the citizens and thus it is imperative to have two-child policy or population control.
According to the Draft Bill, if a person acts in contravention of two-child policy, then that person shall be ineligible to avail any incentives and shall be subject to disincentives like debarring them from government-sponsored welfare schemes and limit up to four will imposed on ration card. It is not specified whether a person will be barred from state welfare schemes or Central welfare schemes. It is an open-ended clause and implies if a third child is born, he will not be provided with social benefits like right to food, right to housing. There are many welfare schemes that operate under Central government and states are bound to follow and every person who is eligible under Central government welfare schemes cannot be barred. Like Anganwadi and Mid-Day Meal schemes. The objective of these schemes is to combat child hunger and malnutrition.
DIMENSIONS OF BUSSINESS ETHICS AND CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY: BRINGING SOCIAL TRANSFORMATION IN INDIA
This research paper clearly brings about the Concept of Corporate Social Responsibility in much broader terms and also the interlink age with Business and market control. This paper plainly achieves the Concept of Corporate Social Responsibility in a lot more extensive terms and furthermore the interlink age with Business and market control. This paper will feature the vital idea of Business morals and job of CSR in India and advancements made till now. For the most part CSR is the solitary stage with the assistance of which the corporate or the business world location the partners. It is fundamentally the organizations’ sole obligation to deliver a general positive effect on society. CSR is just a full-fledged opportunity for exposure as a firm attempts to look great through different earth or socially amicable activities without rolling out fundamental improvements that will have long haul constructive outcomes.
India isn’t an exception. The concept of CSR isn’t new to India; traditionally speaking, social.duty of corporations is a well-set up phenomenon in India, and the u . s . a . has one of the global’s richest traditions of CSR. In its oldest paperwork, CSR in India covered the idea of corporate philanthropy and the Gandhian Trusteeship version. however the liberalization of the Indian financial system inside the Nineties led to a essential shift from the philanthropy-based version to a multistakeholder technique wherein businesses are deemed chargeable for all stakeholders, inclusive of economic stakeholders, personnel and the community.
It is often said that lets “Treat people as an end, and never as a means to an end.” – Immanuel Kant Globalisation supplemented by innovation has brought many vigorous changes to the nature and outline of the market as well as to its customers i.e. on the one part very own business organisations is heading on the supply side and similarly consumers are heading on the demand side Now generally many companies look for the broader outcome and objectives including financial gain as well.
CONCEPT OF BUSSINESS ETHICS
Now days there are many challenging issues of business ethics that are increasing day by day and its way more important in this globalised world and corporate environment and also the thing which is the centre point of these business rules are the comparative advantage parameter and the way ahead competitive edge and quality of decision making matters a lot in business world .CSR and business both have its own important in this globalised economy In a highly diverse and intensely competitive environment, managers are faced with difficult situations and often have to take tough decisions, which are not only right, fair, and proper but also effective
CHARACTERISTICS OF BUSINESS ETHICS
When we talk about, ethics and its role in business so it is the application of moral and ethical values that is the core of any business foundation. While running a business every business has the code of conduct that has to be complied in terms of financial and social environment to. And generally, if the query in regard to what is right or what can be right or what can be generally wrong is based on every body’s or a person’s priorities that is set and its predefined and along with it there is certain obligation which is connected with the society.
Working in a ethical way means working in a right direction or choosing a right path and identifying the right and wrong in the business. They should not unlawfully use copyrighted materials and processes. Company should also not indulge in bribery.
The various characteristics of business ethics are as follows:-
a) Code of conduct: Business ethics is a code of conduct. It states what to do and what not to do for the welfare of the entire society. Everyone should follow this code who wishes to be the business man
b) Based on moral and social values: Generally, principles of business ethics contain core rules and moral values for business.
BUSSINESS ETHICS IN INDIA
The Indian economy has been under two distinct and diverse forces of “Swadeshi” i.e., buy Indian goods and the need to integrate with the larger world economy. Both forces have significant economic and political implications in the region. Liberalization of the Indian economy in the late 1980s and early 1990s also saw the re-establishment of the transnational corporations on the Indian horizon. There is much need to bring awareness about the need for ecological sustainability that has paved the way for a new generation of business leaders concerned about the responses of the community and sustainability of the environment.
INTRODUCTION TO CSR
From last few years corporate social responsibilities in India has attracted lot of attention of majorly all the countries of the world. The reason for such attention can be understood to its significant nature. Generally India is the first country to statutorily mandate CSR for the corporations fulfilling prescribed conditions. Now all the countries are looking forward and they are vigilant to the way it will be carried forward and how will it bring the drastic changes in India.
Though corporate social responsibility is not something very new, it has existed in our socio-economic system since the ages. Earlier kings were engaged in doing benevolent activities like construction of water reservoir, inns (dharamshalas) for travelers, gurukuls etc.
CSR IN INDIA
CSR under Indian law system has been defined in Generally under Rule 2 of Companies (Corporate Social Responsibility Policy) Rules, 2014 in terms of the activities that companies need to perform according to their strategy. CSR includes activities that promote poverty reduction, environment sustainability, health, education, gender equality, vocational skills development and like others. India’s CSR is based on the triple bottom line (TBL). It is to be clearly understood that CSR today is not charity.
CO-RELATION BETWEEN BUSSINESS ETHICS AND CSR
Today in literature of Academics, these two concepts of business ethics and CSR, Also in the academic literature, there is no space for concurrence of opinions about which concept supersedes the other: for instance, in some cases, business ethics is considered part of corporate social responsibility, whereas in other cases corporate social responsibility is thought to be just one aspect of business ethics. So, is there any relationship between the two academic disciplines? Ethics is defined as the study of what is good or right for human beings. Ethics are generally concerned with the goals and aims that people tend to pursue and the actions they ought to perform.
Corporate Governance is concerned with holding the balance between economic and social goals and between individual and communal goals. The corporate governance framework is there to encourage the efficient use of resources and equally to require accountability for the stewardship of those resources. The aim is to align as nearly as possible the interests of individuals, corporations, and society.
EVOLUTION OF CSR IN INDIA
The roots of corporate social responsibility are deep down the immemorial lane of our past. “Our ancient scriptures also of the view that ‘all that exists in this universe is the abode of almighty’’. Therefore, one should enjoy the good things in life by sharing them with others.” Even our very own rulers of ancient India and rich persons were engaged in doing benevolent activities like construction of water reservoir, inns (dharamshalas) for travelers, construction of schools and wells etc. The emperor Ashoka was known as ‘great emperor’ because he initiated the construction of schools and well, planted trees on both the sides of roads. Thus, he was a great environmentalist of that era.
CURRENT STATUS OF CSR IN INDIA
CSR in India has customarily been viewed as a humanitarian movement. Furthermore, with regards to the Indian custom, it was an action that was performed however not pondered. Accordingly, there is restricted documentation on explicit exercises identified with this idea. Nonetheless, what was plainly obvious that quite a bit of this had a public character typified inside it, regardless of whether it was blessing foundations to effectively taking part in India’s opportunity development and inserted in the possibility of trusteeship.
The Companies Act, 2013 has introduced the idea of CSR to the forefront and through its disclose-or-explain mandate, is promoting greater transparency and disclosure. Schedule VII of the Act, which lists out the CSR activities, suggests communities to be the focal point. On the other hand, by discussing a company’s relationship to its stakeholders and integrating CSR into its core operations, the draft rules suggest that CSR needs to go beyond communities and beyond the concept of philanthropy. It will be interesting to observe the ways in which this will translate into action at the ground level, and how the understanding of CSR is set to undergo a change.
SECTION 135 OF THE COMPANIES ACT 2013
The CREP (Corporate Social Responsibility for Environment Protection) 2003 recognized CSR formally for the first time in India. All such charitable acts, now termed as activities undertaken to discharge a company’s CSR, are characterized by a voluntary urge to “give back‟ to the society. To put it in terms of economics, society understands that free market fails to deliver merit goods such education, health etc. in right quantity and quality.
FORMATION OF CSR COMMITTEE
Every company that meets the net profit, net worth, or turnover criteria of the Act has to constitute a CSR Committee of its Board. The Committee must consist of 3 or more members from the directors of the Company Board. Moreover, at least one of the members of the committee has to be an independent director. While an unlisted or a private limited company is exempted from having an independent director as a member, a private limited firm may have only 2 member directors in the Committee. A foreign firm may have 2 members, comprising of one resident in India [Section 380(d)] and another nominated by foreign firm.
RESPONSIBILITIES OF CSR COMMITTEE
The CSR Committee thus constituted must formulate and recommend a CSR Policy for the company to the Company Board. The CSR Policy must indicate the activities to be undertaken by the company as per Schedule VII (see below), recommend the amount of expenditure to be incurred on the activities, institute a transparent monitoring mechanism for the implementation of the policy, and monitor the CSR policy from time to time.
CSR RESTRICTED ACTIVITIES
All CSR activities that fall under Schedule VII must be undertaken in India alone. Companies may build CSR capacities of their own personnel and/or of the implementing agencies though institutions with established track record of at least three financial years. However, such expenditure is restricted to not more than 5% of total CSR expenditure of the company in a financial year. The CSR policy of the company must also specify that any surplus arising out of the CSR activities shall not form part of the business profit of the company.
BUSINESS ETHICS AND CSR IN NEW ECONOMY
Just as the economic economy gradually evolved from the agricultural economy, therefore the industrial economy is currently giving thanks to the emerging digital economy. within the new economy technology becomes the dominant factor of wealth generation “rather than land, labour and particularly capital”, whereas “information and its proper management through information technology are making the difference and separating the winners from the losers”. within the digital environment the balance of power shifts inexorably from the manufacturer to the buyer .
Author is Academic Tutor & TRIP Fellow, O.P Jindal Global Law School, Sonipat, Haryana, India.
CSR in India has customarily been viewed as a humanitarian movement. Furthermore, with regards to the Indian custom, it was an action that was performed however not pondered. Accordingly, there is restricted documentation on explicit exercises identified with this idea. Nonetheless, what was plainly obvious that quite a bit of this had a public character typified inside it, regardless of whether it was blessing foundations to effectively taking part in India’s opportunity development and inserted in the possibility of trusteeship.
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