The post-lunch session of the annual summit of the Public Relations Consultants Association of India (PRCAI) had speakers discussing on social responsibilities of the corporate sector. Speakers were of the opinion that the many faces of India could not be ignored, and that it was essential to have an understanding of environmental, social or agricultural issues.
“Business is the impermeable bubble and what a certain business house does is startling for the outside world, partly because it has no choice. Businesses become immune to the society because of the way it works,” said Santosh Desai, CEO and MD, Future Brands Ltd.
According to Bibek Debroy, Research Professor, Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi, “The reason for the immunity is because of the country’s diversity, and the different perspectives of class, caste, gender, or to some extent, religion. But there is an India that most people from the outside world look into – the rural India. The diversity is such that there is a huge gap in the development between what top and bottom level districts.”
Debroy added that business was done for making profits, and not for fulfilling social corporate responsibility. “All of us are fundamentally driven by selfish motives. Different shareholders, whether it is in the case of business house or the media, think about responsibilities to the immediate shareholders,” he pointed out.
MP Sandeep Dikshit, however, stressed that the media was not always capable of handling and understanding grave issues. “The media in the ’80s and ’90s had the understanding which is lacking today. In India, we work only when there is a certain kind of pressure built around us, whether it is built by circumstances or by the media. There is indeed a disconnect between rural masses and the rest of us.”