Business needs to be critically inward-looking to be socially relevant

Business needs to be critically inward-looking to be socially relevant

New Delhi, April 21, 2011
It is critical to understand various processes by which business and society interact in the contemporary world, especially in the context of a country like India. In order to be better equipped to influence policy processes, it’s an imperative to appreciate challenges that Governments face today from external and internal forces – often leaving little scope for suitable actions to be taken on time. These were some of the thoughts shared by Arun Maira, Member, Planning Commission (Government of India) speaking at the launch meeting of a project entitled, Exploring the interplay between business regulation and corporate conduct in India (referred to as the BRCC project). He also observed that business needs to be critically inward-looking and continually evaluate its contribution to society.

Former Union Environment Minister, Shri Suresh Prabhu stressed on the need for evolution of such a notion of sustainable development that is politically pliable, such that appropriate policies and institutions can be developed to achieve it. He also underscored the need for a modern regulator to be technologically up-to-date, just like the economic entities/firms which the regulator is expected to oversee.

CUTS International has taken up the BRCC project to understand how effective business regulation could stimulate better corporate conduct in the country, said CUTS Secretary General Pradeep S Mehta. The BRCC project is being implemented by CUTS in cooperation with the Norwegian Institute for International Affairs (NUPI) – with support from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Norway. This project would be implemented in selected states and would gather evidence from certain sectors to initiate a policy discourse on how state and national levels policies could be evolved and implemented to facilitate sustainable and inclusive economic growth in the country. There is a great variation in benefits that have accrued across the country from the process of economic growth, and it is necessary to review policies, rules, regulations, norms and their administration to foster a pattern of economic growth that is economically viable, environmentally friendlier and socially equitable.

Over time there has been an increase in demand for policies and rules that enable firms to conduct themselves in a manner that satisfies their legal, regulatory and societal expectations. As a civil society organisation, CUTS has been actively engaged with initiatives that facilitate discourses and expedite processes towards adoption and effective implementation of such policies, rules and laws.

CUTS and its partners would undertake research to identify (regulation and administration related) constraints faced by firms, preventing them evolving as champions of responsible business conduct in the country – and explore possible refinements. Dialogues would be conducted with multiple stakeholders and advocacy undertaken to prepare the grounds for policy reform both at the central and state levels. Project outputs would be utilised to sensitise and build capacities of policymakers, opinion leaders, academicians, civil society representatives and the business community, in order to stimulate a holistic approach to sustainable business development in the country.

For further information, contact:
Mr. Sameer Chaturvedi, Assistant Director, CUTS International,