Tribal handicraft development through CSR In Jharkhand

Jharkhand state is known for the forest, rich minerals, and fertile soil. It is also a tribal populated state with 28% of tribal and 14 Primitive tribal groups. As a result of coal mines and other mineral resources, some big corporate houses are operating in the state. Over the years many corporate organizations have been involved in providing training to the tribal men and women for their livelihood specifically either in handicrafts or in their culture-related activities like folk dance, theater, etc. Tata Steel Ltd. and Jindal Steel & Power Ltd. are two business giants that are active in business operations in Jharkhand. Both of them are working for the promotion of local artisans by assisting them in Techniques, Finance, and Marketing.In India, it has been observed since ancient times that people used to donate their wealth voluntarily to help the underprivileged. The Mughal Emperor Mhod. Akbar was known for his social welfare activities like tree plantation, road making and geological parks creation for the local public. But in ancient India, it was more out of personal intention rather than compulsion. The intention behind this philanthropic act is generally to seek blessings in return. The concept of corporate social responsibility surfaced during the 1950s and 1960s. Indian companies are now realizing the importance of CSR (K.N.Ajith, 2014). According to the World Bank, CSR can be broadly defined as “the commitment of the business to contribute to sustainable economic development by working with employees, their families, the native community and society at large to enhance their standard of living.” According to Socio-Economic and Educational Development Society (SEEDS), approximately 70 lakh artisans are engaged in the handicraft sector all over India. Handicraft items are generally purchased for decorative purposes. The viability of handicrafts can be increased by innovatively adding utility dimensions. These handicrafts can be marketed as green products. Customers nowadays are aware of environment- friendly products and willing to spend extra price for such products as a part of green campaigns (Bhattacharjee, 2012).CSR has proved to be a tool to boost the Handicraft sector. Corporate houses are realizing that the Handicraft sector is left behind. So, some corporate houses are working actively on supporting handicrafts by providing technical, financial and marketing assistance to the artisans. It incorporates all the efforts taken for the protection and preservation of national heritage, art, and culture. The efforts like restoration of sites and monuments of historical importance and craft development would also come under CSR ambit. The definition of handicraft given by UNESCO/ITC (1997)‟Artisanal products are those produced by artisans, either completely by hand, or with the help of hand tools or even by mechanical means, as long as the direct manual contribution of the artisan remains the most substantial component of the finished product. The special nature of the finished products derives from their distinctive features which can be utilitarian, aesthetic, creative, culturally attached, decorative, functional, traditional, religiously and socially symbolic and significant” (Ghosh). On CSR than bigger firms (CRISIL, 2016). With the help of CSR, corporates can instill commercialization and professionalism in the production process. Corporates can enable the local economy to reap the benefits of globalization by providing adequate marketing skills. For capacity building training to semi-skilled and unskilled manpower is the objective of social activities. This will help to get the required skilled manpower from within the locality (Neogi, 2010). As quoted by (Blowfield M., 2005) “CSR is an umbrella term commission of the European communities (2001) emphasized that being socially responsible means to go beyond legal compliance and support civilization, the environment, and the stakeholders.

In Modern business scenarios, social responsibility is an intrinsic strategic component to achieve and sustain the corporate objective rather than “mere” or “pure” charity (G. Bahaudin Mujtaba, 2013). Indian Government emphasizes the concept of “responsible business” in the voluntary guidelines for companies (Ministry of Corporate Affairs, 2011).Companies are realizing the importance of the socio-economic development of the local community and actively engaged in CSR practices. For rural development, CSR initiatives should aim to provide income generation activities. For better planning and implementation of CSR activities, a company should have a dedicated CSR department for better evaluation. A company should survey the concerned area to know the need of the local people. A company should prepare a CSR progress report annually for better transparency. The government should act as a motivator, facilitator and enabler of CSR rather than a dictator (Dipti Mal., 2014).Indian executives agreed that CSR is relevant to their business and they also felt that business is accountable not only to shareholders and employees but also to the customers, suppliers, society and the state (A.F. Khan, 1987). This might be the benefit of CSR that it can be used as a sort of defense strategy when organizations have been attacked for malicious practices (Cohen, 2010).

On May 9, 2015, in the first meeting of the governing body of the corporate social responsibility (CSR) council, Chief Minister Raghubar Das said that private and public-sector companies collectively contribute approximately Rs. 400 crores towards the annual CSR fund in Jharkhand. Social anthropologist (Padel, 2010) an activist against the mining policy of the Indian government has observed that “on the one side, there is eco-side and on the other, displacement and dispossession of Adivasis which is cultural genocide.”

As a part of CSR, TATA has worked for primitive tribal groups of Jharkhand. It is observed that social transformations are taking place as a result of their CSR initiative. The youth of PTG responded enthusiastically. Sustainable livelihood and income options can be generated through the making of handicrafts. The contribution to society is ethnic goods (Agarwal R. et al. , 2013).Local artisans are struggling to revive their traditional craft and culture. They have to compete among themselves to get funding from the Government for their empowerment program to survive their traditional handicraft. Cultural heritage act as a bridge between local people and the government. Local artisans are manipulating cultural heritage to obtain grants and resources to pursue their traditional handicrafts (Liao, 2010).

Marketing is a very important aspect of the current market scenario. Internet marketing is a new trend in the marketing of the product as it is very popular among customers. The popularity of internet marketing lies with the fact that it provides all information like product information, product price, product designs, etc. the number of internet users is increasing day by day including rural areas. Hence Internet marketing is the cheapest mode of marketing. It saves time and money. There is no need for an advertisement for a product through banner and posters as it puts the extra burden to the firm (Dilip Kumar, 2013). Jindal Steel & Power Limited has adopted few villages and is providing skill development training for handicrafts to the women artisans of the adopted villages.

Initiatives like Akriti, Odifab, TCS, TSRDS, and Okhai in the interest of providing sustainable livelihood to the local communities. These initiatives have contributed to the preservation and promotion of local craft practices. It has also helped in the skill development and socio-economic development of the local communities with the focus on women artisans. This has not only promoted the local handicraft sector but also encouraged women empowerment. It should be noticed that this way of promotion of art could also be used by other CSR initiatives to change the lives of the unprivileged sections of society.

-Anusha Sharma

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