In 2013, the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) mandated that Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) must be practiced by companies which have a net worth of rupees five hundred crore or more, or turnover of rupees one thousand crore or more or a net profit of rupees five crore or more during any financial year. This has been mentioned in Section 135 of New Companies Act, 2013. CSR is a way of conducting business, by which corporate entities visibly contribute to the social good. Socially responsible companies do not limit themselves to using resources to engage in activities that increase only their profits. Major Tobacco Industries such as ITC, Philip Morris, VST Industries and so on are part of this group.
One must be thinking that Tobacco Industries doing CSR activities is a great contribution to the society. After all, the money is going for good cause. Consider these points.
- Tobacco Industries are the reason for 10 lakh Indians death every year.
- WHO FCTC Article 5.3 Guidelines states that the tobacco industry’s so-called corporate social responsibility schemes are really just marketing by another name.
- If the Tobacco Industries are thinking of society’s benefit, they would have stopped producing and promoting tobacco products. But did they?
Don’t you think that an Industry which kills half of its consumers and kills 10 Lakh Indians every year should be allowed to do socially responsible activities?? No!!! We thought the same and thus was initiated the campaign to “Stop Tobacco Industries from Participating in CSR Activities”.
With the help of Tobacco Control Communities, Civil Society Organizations and People like you, an impact has been created. Because of all our representations, on 10 Jan, 2014 KesavDesiraju , the Then Secretary, Department of Health & Family Welfare, GoI sent a letter to Naved Masood, Secretary, Ministry of Corporate Affairs GoI.
In the letter, Kesav had asked Naved to re-examine section 135 of New Companies Act, 2013. He suggested that the Tobacco Industries pay their 2% into a Fund operated by the Ministry of Corporate Affairs and identify appropriate recipients through a Committee which includes representatives from Ministry of Health & Family Welfare.
We also filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in Chennai high Court. The High Court issued an order that since the matter is of Government Policy, the court directed to form inter-government communications to see how best CSR scheme of the tobacco trade can be met and what model has to be framed for the same. For this to be done, 4 months duration was given. As per press report on Dec 28, 2014, Inter-ministerial panel has been set up to look into the exclusion of tobacco industries from CSR. Officials from Health and Family Welfare, and Corporate Affairs Ministries, World Health Organisation, India and doctors from the All India Institute of Medical Science, among others, are part of the panel.
This is a tremendous impact that we all have achieved. But this does not stop here. We need to continue further to achieve our main goal to completing stopping tobacco industries from doing any kind of CSR activities.
To render your support to this campaign, please get involved in the signature campaign.
Thanks for preventing yourself/ future generation from becoming victim to tobacco industries strategies.
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