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Inter-Ministerial Workshop on Responsible Business Conduct Held in New Delhi

New Delhi: On Monday, the School of Business Environment at the Indian Institute of Corporate Affairs (IICA), in collaboration with the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), organized an Inter-Ministerial Workshop on ‘Responsible Business Conduct in India’. The workshop aimed to map policies of various ministries aligned with responsible business practices, share progress on related policies and schemes, deliberate on the need for collaborative action, and gather inputs for documenting initiatives that contribute towards Viksit Bharat.

Anuradha Thakur, Additional Secretary at the MCA, delivered a special address highlighting the IICA’s role in promoting responsible business conduct in India. Thakur emphasized the importance of Responsible Business Conduct (RBC) for achieving the vision of Atmanirbhar Bharat and traced the evolution of the RBC ecosystem in the country. She offered key inputs to further sector-specific initiatives in this direction.

In his address, Amit Kumar Ghosh, Additional Secretary of the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment, highlighted the government’s role in promoting the rights of disadvantaged groups, including people with disabilities and transgender individuals. Ghosh particularly emphasized the significance of the NAMASTE scheme, which focuses on the empowerment of sanitation workers.

Shyam S. Dubey, Controller General of Accounts at the Department of Expenditure, Ministry of Finance, underscored the Ministry of Finance’s role in promoting responsible finance practices. Dubey sensitized attendees to the importance of transparency and traceability in financial disbursement, leveraging digital infrastructure to foster an ecosystem of transparency and accountability, as embodied by initiatives like the Public Financial Management System (PFMS).

Nusrat Khan, BHR National Specialist at the UNDP, discussed the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, international regulations and standards related to responsible business conduct, and best practices from different countries. Khan highlighted the key role of the National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights in achieving the UN Agenda 2030, noting that 90% of the Sustainable Development Goals are linked to human rights. Khan emphasized the importance of legal initiatives promoting responsible business conduct in India.

Dr. Garima Dadhich, Associate Professor & Head of the School of Business Environment at IICA, elaborated on the nine principles of the National Guidelines on Responsible Business Conduct. She presented schemes and initiatives of various ministries aligned with these principles and moderated inter-ministerial discussions. Dr. Dadhich underscored the significance of collaboration among government ministries and agencies in promoting responsible business conduct among Indian companies.

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

The workshop’s key outcomes included the development of a compendium on initiatives by various ministries and government agencies related to responsible business conduct.

The event was attended by around 30 senior officers from ministries including Finance, Corporate Affairs, Law & Justice, Housing & Urban Affairs, Public Enterprises, Science & Technology, Commerce & Industry, Mines, and Women & Child Development. This workshop follows a similar inter-ministerial workshop held in January 2024 in New Delhi.

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