27 November, 2020

A Corp’s New Clothes

Garments giant Kitex rolls out freebies, wins panchayat polls in Kerala

Sivaram V.
A Corp’s New Clothes
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

On the outskirts of Kochi, as the sun dips below the lush green trees of Kizhakkamba­lam panchayat, the ‘anthi cha­nda’ (night market) run by Twenty20, the corporate social responsibility wing of the Rs 1,500-crore textile major, Anna-Kitex group, is buzzing with activity. After the local body polls, it is the first time the night market is opening to the public and an electrifying frisson runs through the stalls. Twenty20, which ent­ered the electoral fray in the local body elections, literally saw the takeover of the Kizhakkambalam panchayat by the corporate house winning 17 of the 19 seats.

For the first time in the country, a corporate house not only chose to be a direct participant in electoral democracy but has also won the election, taking over control of a panchayat in the process.

Companies everywhere have traditionally helped politicians and political parties by funding them overtly or covertly. And ever since the law made it mandatory for companies of a particular size and turnover to set aside two per cent of its profits for CSR...

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