Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), a term widely use for defining the responsibilities of Corporate world towards the society & environment. Although the term is not new in this Corporate world but its scope & meaning has undergone major changes from treating it as a mere charity in comparison with the responsibilities/duties of the Corporate towards the outer world.
There are many big entities who have been actively engaged in the CSR activities but unfortunately the number is relatively less. In order to encourage more entities to participate in the process of development of the society via- CSR, the Government of India has actually implemented the concept of CSR in the new Companies Act 2013, On 27th February, 2014, the Government of India has notified the rules for CSR spending u/s 135 of the New Companies Act 2013 along with Companies (Corporate Social Responsibility Policy) Rules, 2014 effective from 1st April 2014. Turning the CSR from voluntary activities to the mandated responsibilities, also governed by the bundle of regulations as follows:
Company (includes foreign company with branches or project in India) having:
- Minimum net worth of rupees 500 Crore.
- Turnover up to "1000 Crore"
- having a net profit of at least '5crore'.
during any financial year, are covered by this provision
Composition of CSR Committee
The Company should constitute a Corporate Social Responsibility Committee as follows:
- The Committee shall consist of minimum 3 (three) including 1 (one) Independent Director, however in case of Private Company or the Company, which is not required to appoint Independent Director on board, or Foreign Company the committee can be formulated with (2) two directors.
- The CSR Policy shall be formulated in accordance with Schedule VII and the CSR Committee will be responsible for framing the policy, finalizing the amount to be spent on CSR, monitoring & implementation of the Scheme.
- If Company ceases to fulfill the eligibility criteria for three consecutive years, then the company is not required to comply until the company will meet the eligibility criteria once again.
The CSR Rules provides the manner in which CSR committee shall formulate, monitor the policy and manner of understanding for CSR activities.
Under the rules, the Government has also fixed a threshold limit of 2% of the "Average' Net Profits of the block of previous three years on CSR activities and if Company fails to spend such amount, disclosures are to be made for the same. But an exemption has been given to the Companies that do not satisfy the above threshold for three consecutive years.
Brief on CSR Activities as prescribed under Schedule VII of CA, 2013
- Objective to efface the daily life segments including poverty, malnutrition and hunger while enhancing the standard of living and promoting the facets of better health care and sanitation.
- Initiative to promote the different segments of education including special education and programs to enhance the vocation skills for all ages like children, women, elderly and conducting other livelihood enhancement projects.
- Aim to bring the uniformity in respect of different sections of the society to promote gender equality and other facilities for senior citizens and developing hostels for women and orphans and taking initiative for empowering women and lowering inequalities faced by socially and economically backward groups.
- Elevate the segment of flora and fauna to bring the ecological balance and environmental sustainability in respect of animal welfare, conservation of natural resources and ago forestry while maintaining the quality of air, water and soil.
- Enhancement of Craftsmanship while protecting art and culture and measures to restore sites of historical importance and national heritage and promoting the works of art and setting up of public libraries.
- Steps to bring worthy to the part of war windows, armed force veterans and their departments.
- Sports programs and training sessions to enhance the level of rural sports, nationally recognized sports, Paralympic sports and Olympics sports.
- Favoring to Prime Minister's National Relief Fund and contribution to other fund set up by the central government to promote socio-economic development and welfare of the schedule castes and Schedule Tribes and for supporting backward classes, minorities and women.
- To uplift the technology of incubator that's comes under academic institutions and which are approved by the Central Government.
- Introducing varied projects for Rural Development.
The below activities doesn't include under the CSR activities of the Company.
- Business run in the normal course.
- Outside the territory of the India or abroad.
- For the welfare of the employees and their families.
- Political party contribution of any amount directly and indirectly as defined u/s 182 of the Act.
The above CSR activities shall be undertaken by the Company, as per its stated CSR policy, in consonance with the new or ongoing projects excluding activities undertaken in pursuance of its normal course of business. The Board of Directors may decide to undertake its CSR activities approved by the CSR Committee, through a registered trust or a registered society.
- The Annual Report of the Company shall include a comprehensive Report on CSR in the format as prescribed in the Companies (Corporate Social Responsibility Policy) Rules, 2014, containing particulars on Overview of CSR Policy, Composition of the Committee, Avg. Net Profit, prescribed expenditure and details of its spending, reason in case of failure etc.
- The disclosure on CSR in Board Report should also be available on the Company's Website.
- The activities included in the CSR Policy and the prescribed expenditure being undertaken/ spent shall be ensured by the Board, in the respective manner.
This means all the Companies falling in the aforesaid criteria needs to ensure CSR compliance but it is debatable to say that the same is for welfare of the society or the companies are doing it just to avoid penalties. CSR stands to support the Company's Vision as well as directions to what Organization stands for and will sustain its clients. An ISO 26000 is the accepted worldwide standard for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).
CSR term has been revaluated with an aim to embrace responsibility for the Company's actions and encourage a positive impact through its activities on the environment, consumers, conscience, corporate citizenship, social performance, employees, communities and all stakeholders.
In short, CSR can also be termed as Corporate Organizations to behave responsibly.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.