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Improving Education, A Corporate Responsibility?

Corporates entering the world of academics can have a huge and positive impact on the overall infrastructure and quality of education and research in India.

In the year 2013, when the concept of Corporate Social Responsibility came out in the world, India was the first country to mandate specific set of rules and regulations for all corporate entities based on their profit, or revenue, or net worth.

Last year in 2019, to broaden and strengthen the relation between corporates and academics, the Government has included Public Universities under the CSR spending. In a circular released by the Ministry of Corporate Affairs(MCA), it was mentioned that corporates can now spend their CSR funds on Universities and Incubators, controlled by state and central government or any agency or PSU under central and state government. This will also include National research laboratories and autonomous bodies under the Indian government, such as Indian Council of Agricultural Research(ICAR), Indian Council Of Medical Research(ICMR), Defence Research and Development Organisation(DRDO) and many others.

Education has been one of the most attractive sectors for corporates to spend their CSR funds. Now with the new guidelines, of broadening the spending for corporates, universities and research institutes can have a very positive impact. In India 75% of the budget for research is spent by the Government of India and that comes around to 0.7 of the GDP. Other growing and technologically advanced countries spend around 2% of the GDP on their research. The approximate amount of money spent my corporates for CSR, from the time CSR laws came to force in India till the time the new guidelines for including public universities came out was Rs 47000 crores. That means only taking 4 years in consideration, 2014-2018, the average spent for CSR every year is approximately Rs12000 crores. The corporates in India deserve a pat on the back for spending heavy amounts for the well being of the society. Now being part of the bracket of spending for CSR, the public universities can too increase their educational standards exponentially. This will  have a very huge and positive impact on the research sector as well. With more money to spend, the quality of research, education and infrastructure, will definitely get better.

The other positive side of this is that the universities will now have more scholarships to offer than before. In a county like India where increasing population and depleting resources have been a concern for a long time now, there are a lot of students who are capable but unable to attend universities for higher education. Having more money for disposal will allow universities to let more deserving students to study.

Corporates spending on Universities will help India on a macro scale as well. The bigger picture here is that with improved education and research facilities, the human resources and technology, both will improve. This in return will better the economy of the nation and increase the GDP. With increased GDP, the government will also have more money to spend on research and higher education. The whole process is interconnected and the final result is betterment of the economy and our country as a whole. 

The aim, in the long run, for the education system in India should be to make it available to all the capable and deserving people who can not afford it. In simple words:

Capability should triumph inability