India’s Mandatory Corporate Social Responsibility Proposal: Creative Capitalism Meets Creative Regulation in the Global Market
35 Pages Posted: 12 May 2012
Date Written: May 11, 2012
This Comment traces the legislative, socio-political, and legal history of a truly unusual and innovative legislative proposal recently raised in India: mandatory corporate social responsibility (CSR) spending for all businesses. While many commentators criticized the proposal for falling outside of the traditional western conception of CSR, this note suggests that what might seem retrograde or unusual to westernized companies can more productively be viewed as India’s attempt to navigate a difficult divide, unique to BRICS countries. India is under intense pressure from its populace to address growing inequalities and deficiencies in infrastructure; at the same time, it is facing perpetual international pressure to keep its economy highly liberalized, with little taxation. The CSR proposal represents the Indian parliament’s attempt to create a novel policy to serve both goals; such attempts at innovation, which do not simply import western laws or governance regimes, should be encouraged.
Keywords: India, corporate social responsibility, BRICS, development
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