Union minister for Railway, Coal, Finance and Corporate Affairs Piyush Goyal on Monday urged the industry captains to undertake their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities in the 115 aspirational districts, some of which are Maoist-hit, so as to bring a socio-economic development.
“Some of the Maoist-hit districts are spread in seven to eight states. Undertaking CSR activities in these places will help in addressing their problems as they are poor, deprived and marginalised sections of the society,” said Mr Goyal while speaking at an interactive session organised by ICC.
Taking a dig at the industrialists for undertaking CSR activities in the nearby areas of their factories, Mr Goyal said that such initiatives are “not CSR but compulsions”. “In India, you don’t have to tell people to do CSR as it is in our blood. It’s our culture to return something to the society. However, a company in Asansol that undertakes CSR activities in that place is not desirable,” he said.
According to the Union minister, it is the company’s need to upgrade infrastructure around its factory site. “For instance, construction of roads and availability of water supply are required for operation of the factory. Doing such activities cannot be CSR. It would thus be important if such activities are undertaken in the 115 aspirational districts that are lagging on specific development parameters,” he added.
Mr Goyal’s comes close on the heels of BJP performing well in Junglemahal areas in the panchayat polls and the subsequent efforts to strengthen base in those districts.
Offended at the party for faring poorly, Trinamul Congress, on the other hand, had gone ahead with a series of reshuffle at both political and bureaucratic levels.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr Goyal said a long-term infrastructure bond could be worked out to ensure better cash flow to projects. “On Saturday, I held a meeting with a senior official of one of the largest banks. I was actually suggesting him, ‘why don’t you come up with a longterm infra-development bond, say 25-year bond’,” Mr Goyal said.
“People are not able to park their money for long-term in a good asset. Having longterm bonds for a fixed coupon could help projects to plan their cash flows better. It is a thought I have discussed,” he added.
Mr Goyal also termed the proposal of some political parties for a single GST rate slab as a “ridiculous suggestion”. He said : “One rate of tax is a ridiculous suggestion. It would be a burden on the poor and the middle class if items of daily use such as salt, sugar and clothes were taxed at 18 per cent.” It would be “a worse form of government” if Mercedes Benz and aircraft become cheaper while salt-sugar become costlier, he retorted.