Godrej Group chairman Adi Godrej talks about the growing philanthropy activity of India and its entrepreneurs. Godrej in conversation with FPJ’s Jescilia Karayamparambil.
India has seen huge donation from various foreign philanthropists. Will there be a decline in these donations and their expertise with Indian’s acquiring more wealth?
No, I don’t think that will happen. International philanthropists are interested in developing countries. I think that flow will continue in the country. But I would like to add that we are underestimating the philanthropy that is taking place in India especially with CSR coming in place.
There is quite a few philanthropic activity that is taking place especially among the young entrepreneurs— likes of Infosys. They have put in so much money in philanthropic causes. Young people who are doing well are putting in lot of money. I think philanthropy in our country will see a rise.
Do you think 2 per cent set aside for CSR should rise in time to come?
This percentage should not rise too much. Otherwise it will impact businesses. Big advantage of corporates are that they invest in new projects and employ new people. CSR activities should not affect that. I believe that two per cent is a good sum. We should encourage people to make better profits. So, that they can invest more on CSR and have good environment in the country. This will support growth that will allow increase in people’s income.
Is individual level philanthropy better than the government enforced one?
I think it is better. But to make the country stronger, there should be more self-employment. There are many people who are starting their own businesses and they should be encouraged.
Apart from skilling, where else is India lacking in?
Apart from skilling, India as a country should also concentrate on education. We cannot afford to have illiterate person. We should make sure every young person should be literate but of course, not everyone is capable of absorbing but they should go to school. And from that those who are intelligent should be given an opportunity to study more. India has to create more and more opportunities for practical education.
What are your expectations around the budget?
I believe the budget should be growth-oriented and employment-oriented. There are a lot of opportunities. But we will have to wait and watch.