In a strong message to corporate India, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday reminded it of its responsibilities toward the common man and advocated a 'ten-point social charter' for sharing benefits of economic growth with the less privileged.
"Corporate social responsibility must not be defined by tax planning strategies alone. Rather, it should be defined within the framework of a corporate philosophy which factors the needs of the community and the regions in which the corporate entity functions," he told the annual general meeting of industry body CII here, listing the charter.
Singh said unless workers feel they are cared for at work "we can never evolve a national consensus in favour of more flexible labour laws aimed at ensuring that our firms remain globally competitive."
The Prime Minister also made it clear that operation of cartels by groups of companies to keep prices high must end.
"It is unacceptable to obstruct the forces of competition from having fair play. It is even more distressing in a country where the poor are severely affected by rising commodity prices," Singh said.
Terming cartelisations as a "crime" that goes against the grain of an open economy, the Prime Minister said: "Even profit maximisation should be within the bounds of decency and greed."
He suggested that CII develop "codes of conduct" to fight corruption, saying there are many successful companies that have refused to yield to corrupt business practices.
Prime Minister said while the UPA government will continue to create an environment that is friendly for the growth of manufacturing industry, leaders must also facilitate employment creation in their industries.
This requires expansion of economic activity, investment in human capabilities and the pursuit of socially, politically, environmentally and financially sustainable growth, he said.
"The government has its role and responsibility, but so do the better off sections of our society. This is where I look to CII for leadership", Singh said.
While lauding the industry for maintaining high growth, Singh said to win the race in being globally competitive, "you must work in a harmonious environment, an environment in which all citizens feel actually involved in economic growth and in which each citizen sees hope for a better future".
He said as industry aims to master increasingly complex technologies and becomes organisationally more complex it must try to maintain its competitive edge by investing in R&D and innovation and promoting enterprises. "While the government can do its bit, the larger burden is on industry", he said.