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Friday, July 19, 2024

An Inter-Ministerial Workshop on the ‘Responsible Business Conduct in India” was organized in New Delhi

An Inter-Ministerial Workshop on the ‘Responsible Business Conduct in India” was organized by the School of Business Environment, Indian Institute of Corporate Affairs alongwith the Ministry of Corporate Affairs, Govt. of India in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) today on 20 May 2024 at the Le Meridian, Connaught Place, New Delhi with objective to map the policies of different ministries aligned with responsible business, to share the progress made against the policies and schemes related to responsible business, to deliberate the need for collaborative action, and to seek inputs for documenting initiatives pertaining to responsible business leading towards Viksit Bharat.

Addressing the workshop, Ms Anuradha Thakur, Addl. Secretary, Ministry of Corporate Affairs delivered a special address and highlighted the role played by the Indian Institute of Corporate Affairs in promoting the responsible business conduct in the country. She emphasised the importance of Responsible Business Conduct for achieving the vision of Atmanirbhar Bharat and traced the evolution of Responsible Business Conduct ecosystem in India. While she appreciated the efforts of IICA for advancing the Responsible Business Conduct agenda in India, she offered key inputs for furthering the efforts in the direction of sector initiatives in this direction.

Shri Amit Kumar Ghosh, Addl. Secretary, Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment, Government of India in his address highlighted the pertinent role of the Ministry in promoting the rights of the people belonging to disadvantaged sections of the society, ranging from people with disabilities to transgender. He especially emphasised the significance of NAMASTE scheme of the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, which focuses on empowerment of sanitation workers.

Shri Shyam S. Dubey, Controller General of Accounts, Dept. of Expenditure, Ministry of Finance, Govt. of India highlighted the role Minsitry of Finance plays in ensuring the responsible finance practices. He sensitized the dignitaries about the significant role of the Ministry of Finance, Government of India, in promoting transparency and traceability in the financial disbursement undertaken by the Ministry. He highlighted the importance of leveraging the digital infrastructure to create a ecosystem of transparency and accountability as is embodied by the various initiatives of the Government of India like PFMS

Ms Nusrat Khan, BHR National Specialist, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), dwelt upon United Nations Guiding Principle on Business and Human Rights, various regulations and standards at international level aligned with the responsible business conduct. She also shared best practices from different countries and where India stands against those. She traced and compared the evolution of the global and Indian ecosystem of initiatives promoting Responsible Business Conduct. She also emphasised the key role of National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights in achievement of the UN Agenda 2030, as she quoted that 90% of the Sustainable Development Goals are invariably linked to Human Rights. While concluding her address she focused on the legal initiatives promoting the Responsible Business Conduct in India while also establishing a business case for it.

Dr. Garima Dadhich, Associate Professor & Head, School of Business Environment, Indian Institute of Corporate Affairs deliberated on the nine principles of National Guidelines on Responsible Business Conduct and presented the schemes and initiatives of different ministries aligned and mapped against these principles. She moderated the Inter-Ministerial discussions and outlined the significance of Responsible Business Conduct and the role of the collaboration among various Ministries and Agencies of the Govt. of India in promoting the responsible business conduct among Indian companies.

The event concluded with a vote of thanks by Prof. Garima Dadhich. She expressed her gratitude to all the speakers and participants for their valuable contributions and insights. She also expressed that the workshop would pave the way for further dialogue and collaboration on Responsible Business Conduct among the relevant stakeholders. Key outcomes of the workshops were to come-up with a compendium on relevant initiatives on different ministries and agencies of Govt. of India which are related with the responsible business conduct. Dr. Ravi Raj Atrey, Chief Programme Executive, SoBE-IICA steered the event. The workshop was attended by around 30 senior officers from different relevant Ministries of the Govt. of India including the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Corporate Affairs, Ministry of Law & Justice, Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs, Dept. of Public Enterprises, Dept. of Science & Technology, Ministry of Commerce & Industry, Ministry of Mines, and Ministry of Women & Child Development among others. This was a second inter-ministerial workshop on the subject, the first one was held in January 2024 in New Delhi.

Pertinent to highlight that the School of Business Environment (SBE) is a specialised vertical within the Indian Institute of Corporate Affairs (an autonomous institution under the Ministry of Corporate Affairs, Govt. of India) stewarding and promoting the Environmental-Social-Governance (ESG) agenda within Indian Business eco-system, it has several pertinent initiatives such as capacity building, research, policy support and advocacy on ESG related issues to enable the businesses to better adopt, integrate and disclose on ESG frameworks. It also works in other areas influencing the Business Environment like Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), Business and Human Rights (BHR), Responsible Trade, Sustainable Finance, Business and Biodiversity and Research & Development.

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