Corporate India had, as part of its CSR, spent as much as ₹6,947 crore towards healthcare activities, including Covid-19 related ones, during 2020-21, the Lok Sabha was informed on Monday.
This is out of the cumulative Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) spend of ₹24,865 crore for 2020-21, Union Finance and Corporate Affairs Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said in a written reply to a Lok Sabha question.
She also said that the Corporate Affairs Ministry (MCA) does not specifically maintain details of CSR funds spent by companies for Covid-19 separately.
It maybe recalled that MCA had through various circulars issued in 2021 clarified that spending of CSR funds for carrying out awareness campaigns/programs or public outreach campaigns on Covid-19 vaccination program, setting up makeshift hospitals and temporary Covid-19 care facilities , creating healthcare infrastructure for Covid- 19 care and establishment of medical oxygen generation and storage plants and manufacturing and supply of oxygen concentrators /ventilators/cylinders are all eligible CSR activities under company law.
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Meanwhile, replying to another Parliament question on whether the Government has come across any cases of companies not abiding by CSR provisions, Sitharaman said in a written reply that so far sanction for prosecution has been accorded in 336 cases. Of these 155 applications for compounding have been made and 105 cases have been compounded.
Earlier, CSR related defaults were compoundable offences. Now, the non compliance of CSR provisions has been made a civil wrong with effect from January 22, 2021.
Sitharaman highlighted that 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 recommendations of its CSR committee.
The CSR architecture is disclosure based and CSR mandated companies are required to file details of CSR activities annually in MCA21 registry. The government monitors the compliance of CSR provisions through the disclosures made by the companies in MCA21 Portal.
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“Whenever any violation of CSR provisions is reported, action against such non compliant company is initiated as per provisions of the Companies Act after due examination of records and following due process of law”, Sitharaman said.
To another question, Sitharaman said there is no structured study of the impact of the enforcement of the Companies Act provisions pertaining to Corporate Social Responsibility. (The Hindu BusinessLine)
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