Jal Mahal revival, a project mired in controversy related to ownership and maintenance of heritage structures.

Corporate Social Responsibility in Heritage Areas

The protection of our national heritage is about protecting the cultural legacies so that it is experienced by the future generations to enable understand who we were who we are and help to assess where can we be lead to. Today with the advent of globalization and with development of the phenomenon of global corporation, there is a need that the public and private organizations focus together to achieve common goals of sustainable development. There is a necessity that, along with core business sectors, other areas like health services, sports, heritage, environment etc. need to be looked upon with greater emphasis.

This coordination between public and private sector can work as an effective tool of management of overlooked areas and particularly in the field of heritage management. The corporate sector is playing a big role in the contemporary society, directly and indirectly is influencing lives of millions of people and therefore it becomes one of their important duties to extend its wing of help towards protection of the cultural past of the society.

Jal Mahal revival, a project mired in controversy related to ownership and maintenance of heritage structures.
Jal Mahal revival – A project mired in controversy related to ownership and maintenance of heritage structures.
Picture – Bhushan Sadani | Unsplash

Taking heed to this need, the Indian government has initiated mechanisms like Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) to make various overlooked sectors of the country as a ‘co-responsibility’ for sustainable development. Today in the Indian context lot of emphasis is being given to privatization and it is looked upon as a major step for governance. There is now an involvement of business group to find a path for development of the society with concepts like CSR. CSR has a triple bottom approach for environmental care, social equity and economic prosperity.

Realizing this, the Companies Act 1956 has been amended to include protection of National Heritage and Restoration. Heritage was thus given importance for the first time in the Schedule VII of the Act while it had not found a place in the first version of activities prescribed. These amendments have come into effect from 1st April 2014.

This paper looks into CSR in terms of what has been achieved with prescribed CSR framework, which sectors play important role, how can it be beneficial in the heritage areas, what is the present scenario of application of CSR, which companies are already involved under CSR in heritage, how can the existing framework of CSR be strengthened and what could be the possible way forward.

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