Companies' CSR spending crossed ₹1 lakh crore in last five years: Govt

Companies' CSR spending crossed ₹1 lakh crore in last five years: Govt
More than ₹1 lakh crore has been spend by companies on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities between 2014-15 and 2020-21 fiscal, according to Corporate Affairs Ministry data placed before Parliament.

"Since the enactment of CSR provision w.e.f. April 2014, companies are responding positively and have shown encouraging signs in adopting the culture of being responsible towards society," Minister of State for Corporate Affairs Rao Inderjit Singh said in a written reply to the Lok Sabha on Monday.

The philosophy of CSR is to engage corporates as partners in the socio-economic development of the country by leveraging their managerial efficiency, best practices, technology and innovation in the delivery of public good and services, he said.

The CSR architecture is disclosure based and CSR mandated companies are required to file details of CSR activities annually in MCA21 registry. All data related to CSR, including name of the companies are available in the public domain at www.csr.gov.in.

On the basis of filings made by the companies in the MCA21 registry till September 30, 2021, a cumulative amount of ₹85,109.09 crores has been spent by companies under CSR during the financial years 2016-17 to 2020-21,the Minister said.

Out of that, ₹46,654.52 crores have been spent by the top 100 companies during the same period, he added.

Asked if the government is monitoring and reviewing the CSR scheme systematically, the Miniter said the tovernment provides the broad framework of CSR through Section 135 of the Companies Act, 2013 (Act), Schedule VII of the Act and Companies (CSR Policy) Rules, 2014.

Under the Act, CSR is a Board driven process and the Board of the company is empowered to plan, decide, execute and monitor the CSR activities of the company based on the recommendation of its CSR committee.

"Thus, the responsibility of monitoring the implementation of CSR policy lies with the Board of the concerned company," he said.

The Government monitors the compliance of CSR provisions through the disclosures made by the companies in the MCA21 registry.

However, to create an enabling environment and effective implementation of CSR activities by the companies, the government have been taking various initiatives by amending various provisions related to CSR and issuing clarifications, guidelines, Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) from time to time, he said.

The government constituted two High-Level Committees to review the CSR framework. The Committee recommended various measures to improve the CSR ecosystem, he said.

A National CSR Data Portal was launched for driving accountability and transparency of CSR disclosures of the companies by making the portal accessible to general public.

Further, the National CSR Awards have been instituted to recognize the companies that have made a positive impact on the society through their innovative and sustainable CSR initiatives, he added.
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"CSR is a hard-edged business decision. Not because it is a nice thing to do or because people are forcing us to do it because it is good for our business."
Niall FitzGerald
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