Amendments to Companies Act: Money Spent on Swachh Bharat, Clean Ganga comes under CSR ambit

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NEW DELHI: Widening the activities coming under CSR ambit, contributions made by corporates towards Narendra Modi-led government’s two key initiatives — Swachh Bharat and Clean Ganga — will now be considered as social welfare spending work.

India Sanitation Summit Sanitation for All Toilet First 6 Feb 2015 New DelhiMaking amendments to the Companies Act, the Corporate Affairs Ministry has said that contributions to ‘Swachh Bharat Kosh’ and ‘Clean Ganga Fund’ would come under CSR framework.

‘Swach Bharat Kosh’ has been set up to attract funds, from various entities including corporates, for activities related to Swachh Bharat initiative. The ‘Clean Ganga Fund’ is aimed at pooling money for taking up works to clean the Ganga river.

These two initiatives are the latest ones to be brought under the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) ambit where already contributions made to the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund has been included.

Through a notification, the Ministry has inserted the words ‘including contribution to the Swach Bharat Kosh set up by the central government for the promotion of sanitation” in Schedule VII of the Act. Besides, the words “including contribution to the Clean Ganga Fund set up by the central government for rejuvenation of river Ganga” have been inserted in the Schedule.

Schedule VII of Companies Act, 2013, pertains to CSR activities. Swachh Bharat and Clean Ganga are among the major initiatives of the Modi government, which has embarked on a major drive to ensure cleanliness across the country.

Schedule VII also includes “contribution to the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund or any other fund set up by the Central Government for socio-economic development and relief and welfare of the Scheduled Castes, the Scheduled Tribes, other backward classes, minorities and women”.

Certain class of profitable companies are required to shell out at least two per cent of their three-year average annual net profit towards CSR activities. The provision, part of the new Companies Act, came into force from April 1. These norms would be applicable to companies having at least Rs 5 crore net profit, or Rs 1,000 crore turnover or Rs 500 crore net worth.

Such companies would need to spend two per cent of their three-year average annual net profit on CSR activities in each financial year, beginning 2014-15 fiscal.

Livelihood enhancement and rural development projects, working towards protection of national heritage, setting up public libraries, promotion and development of traditional arts and handicrafts, are among the activities coming under CSR ambit.

Among others, eradicating hunger, poverty and malnutrition, promoting preventive health care and sanitation and making available safe drinking water; promoting gender equality and rural development projects, would also considered as social welfare spending.

(PTI, 27 Oct 2014)

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