IICA and MCA Partner with UNDP to Host Inter-Ministerial Workshop on ‘Responsible Business Conduct in India’ in New Delhi

An Inter-Ministerial Workshop on the ‘Responsible Business Conduct in India” was organised by the School of Business Environment, Indian Institute of Corporate Affairs (IICA) along with the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA), Govt. of India, in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) on Monday, in New Delhi. The objective of the workshop was 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.

During a special addressat the workshop, Ms. Anuradha Thakur, Addl. Secretary, MCA, highlighted the role played by the IICA in promoting the responsible business conduct in the country. Ms. Thakur emphasised the importance of Responsible Business Conduct (RBC) for achieving the vision of Atmanirbhar Bharat and traced the evolution of Responsible Business Conduct ecosystem in India. Ms. Thakur offered key inputs for furthering the efforts in the direction of sector initiatives in this direction.

In his address, Shri Amit Kumar Ghosh, Addl. Secretary, Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment, Government of India, highlighted the pertinent role of the Government in promoting the rights of the people belonging to disadvantaged sections of the society, ranging from people with disabilities to transgender. Shri Kumar 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 Ministry of Finance (MoF) plays in ensuring the responsible finance practices. Shri Dubey sensitised the dignitaries about the significant role of the MoF in promoting transparency and traceability in the financial disbursement. Shri Dubey 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. Ms. Khan also shared best practices from different countries and where India stands against those and traced and compared  the evolution of the global and Indian ecosystem of initiatives promoting Responsible Business Conduct. Ms. Khan also emphasised the key role of National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights in achievement of the UN Agenda 2030,  and quoted that 90% of the Sustainable Development Goals are invariably linked to Human Rights. In conclusion, Ms. Khan 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, IICA, 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. Dr. Dadhich 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.

In the vote of thanks, Dr. Dadhich expressed her gratitude to all the speakers and participants for their valuable contributions and insights and stated that the workshop would pave the way for further dialogue and collaboration on RBC 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.

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.

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