Every company, with its chief executive and employees, work for its growth and development. They toil hard every single day to take it to the zenith and keep it that way. As a company grows, thus grow its popularity and worth. With the growth of an organization, its responsibility towards the society must also evolve. To regulate this, the companies interact for social, moral and environmental causes to give back to the community.
Corporate Social Responsibility or CSR is a business term in an organizational structure of a company. It is a way of pay-back the companies or multinational giants return to the society; a method of saying that they are grateful and are morally obliged to help for the upliftment or the betterment of the environment and society. In a bill passed by the Indian law that took effect in 2014, whatever that comes as a profit to any organization, it has been made mandatory that a company must give 2% of its earnings towards CSR. Any company that is established in India and has a net worth of at least 5 billion or more during the three years of the company’s formation is eligible for doing CSR activities.
In today’s era, finance is the most crucial aspect for an individual. Having financial security is what a person works for or earns money to live at least a minimally fulfilling life. When a company’s CSR project is approved, it is seen that they are focussed mostly towards the education programs for the children or people who are socially backward, skill development or capacity building programs for smaller companies or employees and/or management development programs catering the needs of SMEs. But it is rarely seen that a CSR activity is undertaken to make the masses aware about the financial literacy of an individual or in a more significant leap, our country.
In a survey conducted by Standard and Poor’s Financial services in 2017, nearly 76% of the adult Indians do not even understand the basics of the financial concepts. It is a tensed situation to see that being a developing country that is competing against superpowers like the USA or even its close counterpart China, only less than about 25% people are correctly investing their finances.
With upcoming multinational companies trying every day to invest their part of a profit in schemes that could cater for the betterment of the society, the financial sector is such an area where a lot of facilitation is still needed. Only about 53% of Indians acquired a bank account (as per World Bank Gallup Findex Survey in 2014). With the introduction of Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojna, this situation improved a little, and over 280 million new bank accounts were added to the financial system (as of April 2017, according to the government data). But just opening an account in a bank is not enough. Practically, it is not going to bring financial empowerment or make the nation financially fit. Though it is essential to make people financially independent and furthermore it’s vital to make them realize their economic potentials to grow themselves.
The United Nations Development Program’s (UNDP) survey on Financial Literacy Program in India revealed that in areas where a service provider or a company takes up the charge to make a community financially educated, it showed positive results and the people learned more from it than not knowing or being self-taught about money matters. And for that to be effective, the companies must redirect themselves in this area of social responsibility, which might be new in the field but has a lot of potentials.
The need of the hour is such that people from every stratum of the society should know at least the basic of financial management, but that is not present the case. A specific group of the individuals, most of the higher social branches, know about money management on a regular basis, but a person belonging from lower strata of the society have minimal or no knowledge about even banking or saving terms.
Evident by these financial conditions, it won’t be all incorrect to say that rich remain rich and the poor are growing poorer with every financial handling they go through. For having a sane financial transaction, being literate about it is necessary. The necessity to learn comes when there is an opportunity, and with the CSR measures taken towards this need, companies should create this opportunity to help cater the mass with knowledge about financial fitness.
While the financial stability of an individual still has a long way to reach its desired goal, the companies can surely try to help the masses with financial literacy. And what better idea by starting a social project that caters to this need.