Due to the disasters in the mining sector, the local community faces a lot of problems like physical, mental and environment related issues. CSR practices is not a voluntary activity in India, it is a mandatory one. Corporations can spend their CSR funds on disaster management and preparedness. In this regard, social workers can also play a vital role in CSR, as they can act as a mediator between corporations and the affected community.
Keywords: Community; Corporate Social Responsibility; Disaster; Government of India, Mining Industry, & Social Worker.
Government has a responsibility to protect people from disasters and promote their well-being. When the population is very high, it needs a helping hand from corporations operating in the area. Though corporations are part of the society, it has a responsibility towards the community where it exists. People who are employed by the corporations, as well as surrounding communities, are facing the same problems directly and indirectly. The environment is also affected by the practices of corporations, because of pollution and other environmental issues. Corporations have their own responsibility towards the community’s health and environmental protection. Recently, corporations started realizing that they have a responsibility towards society. With the help of Social workers, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) teams can assist disaster affected communities. This article will specifically focus on the Indian environment, and the contribution of social workers in CSR and disaster management.
CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY
Corporations have a responsibility towards community development. According to the Indian Companies Act 2013, every company with a net worth of rupees five hundred crore or more, a turnover of rupees one thousand crore or more, or a net profit of rupees five crore or more, must implement CSR practices for the betterment of the community. CSR practices are not voluntary activities in India, but it is mandatory. Mining communities are facing health and environment related problems. Therefore, corporations can assist by spending CSR funds for disaster management and preparedness. CSR contributions towards the Prime Minister National relief fund also falls under the Schedule VII of the Indian Companies Act of 2013. Corporation’s contributions can also be helpful to socio-economic development or relief and need to be involved in CSR activities. If corporations fail to protect the communities from disasters, then it will become a serious crisis.
CSR and Disaster Management
Sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility are important issues in many countries and industries (Jenkins & Yakovleva, 2006). A better tomorrow is not only the government’s responsibility; it is also the responsibility of all the citizens of the nation (Mohapatra, 2015). Siddiqui (2014) emphasizes that CSR operations can be in areas such as providing safety measures, disaster relief and initiatives to preserve the employees. Corporations need to be concerned about disaster relief, health and environmental conditions of the community.
HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENTAL CONSEQUENCES OF MINING
Cronjé, Reyneke and Van Wyk (2013) emphasises that there is an association between industries, and social and environmental harms. Yakovleva (2005) states that both the environment and society are affected by the mining processes. Mining processes can affect the society directly and indirectly (Ranjan & Das, 2015). Mane Abhay (2014) states that environmental sanitation is a serious public health problem in India. Therefore, CSR activity is needed to concentrate on environmental protection and community health.
MINING DISASTERS IN INDIA
A disaster is defined by the Asian Disaster Reduction Center (2003) as: “A serious disruption of the functioning of society, causing widespread human, material or environmental losses which exceed the ability of affected society to cope using only its own resources” (Mohamed Shaluf 2007). If disasters are neglected or mismanaged, it will lead to a crisis (Shaluf, Ahmadun & Mat Said, 2003; Hanna Salman Sawalha, 2013). According to Aftab Ahmad, Sinha & Bhattacharjee a mining disaster is defined as “an accident with 10 or more fatalities”. Also, defined as “an unexpected, sudden occurrence, including in particular a major emission of gas, fire, explosion or inundation, resulting from abnormal developments in the course of mining activity, leading to a serious danger to workers, the public or the environment, whether immediate or delayed, inside or outside the mine or involving one or more hazardous substances”.
Although the people of India are employed by these corporations, they also lose their own life and environment. Many mining companies started to operate without a license from the government of India. Illegal business is an injustice, and these practices are totally against the law. Furthermore, they are not following environmental and social considerations. Disaster is a serious issue in the mining sector in India. Due to the corporation’s practices, mining communities are facing many potential problems. When these problems are uncontrolled, it will become a disaster in the particular community. Finally, the local community will become a victim of the corporation’s practices.
At the time of the explosions, the workers and the rescue teams are affected by the disaster. Due to lack of awareness and scarcity of breathing equipment, there is an increase in the death rate in the mining industry. Also, the industry is failing to find the problems and causes at an earlier stage, in order to protect employees from disasters.
ROLE OF SOCIAL WORKERS IN MINING DISASTER MANAGEMENT
Social workers can determine the effect of mining disasters on the community, and make a plan to rehabilitate the community. In India, social workers have the opportunity to play an important role in disaster management. Social workers are able to be involved in rehabilitation work in mining communities, but they can also be involved in the whole process of Assessment, Planning, Implementation and Review.
Figure 1. Social Workers’ Interventions
After conducting thorough field work, social workers will have the ability to assess the effect of disasters in the local community, they can prepare reports in an unbiased way, and can also identify the community’s health and environment related problems due to mining practices.
Figure 2. Planning
Social workers can suggest remedies to the corporation through the help of CSR teams and other professionals (Economist, Health specialist), they can also be involved in planning relief activities. Community health and environmental consideration need to be given special attention and is of great importance. With the help of the community and the CSR team, social workers can develop a new plan for disaster management and community development. Planning should be based on physical health and psychological related problems. Social workers need to consider the gender, age, educational qualification, and other variables for the planning of CSR intervention.
Social workers need to implement the planned programme in the affected communities. Remedy programmes need to be implemented on a small scale at first. If the people are satisfied with the programme, then they can extent the programme to the entire community.
After implementing the programmes, the social workers need to conduct an evaluation of the programme. Social workers can conduct some research to determine the impact of the CSR programme in the disaster affected community. Social workers can collaborate with some other professionals to determine the impact of the programme, as they also need to ensure the development of the community.
Suggestions to the Mining Industry:
- Creating disaster related awareness among the employees and the surrounding community
- Ensure the availability of basic equipment for disaster preparedness in the mining industry
- Creating knowledge to face the problem of mining disasters
- Identify the problem in the earlier stages and take action to solve it
- Rescue teams always need to be ready to face these difficult circumstances
Suggestions to the Social Workers:
Social workers need to start a Self-Help group, Youth group, Children parliamentary, Cultural and Sports group with the support of the community. These groups will be helpful to determine the various problems among the affected community and will also be helpful to find a solution to solve it. By giving counselling, conducting research, intervention, training and rehabilitation work, social workers can help the community.
In order to create sustainability and longevity for corporations in the mining industry, they need to adopt sustainability as a main agenda (Ranjan & Das, 2015). Currently, corporation’s sustainability is purely based its image, but the corporation’s image is determined by its CSR activities. Communities normal lives are affected by mining operations and disasters, and communities can also lose their physical and mental health. The environment is also severely affected by mining disasters. Both CSR team and Social workers need to determine the effect of disasters and they can help people to recover it. Community well-being is the first preference for disaster preparedness and management.
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 Researcher, Tamil Nadu, India
 Researcher, Bench marks Centre for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), North- West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa.