Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is mandatory in India by law, under the Companies Act, 2013. The law has brought so many companies under the purview of CSR, making CSR spending more streamlined and formal. As the CSR sector grows more efficient, it is imperative to observe its role in national development and to identify areas that require more attention in order to direct companies with relevant resources and expertise towards the same.
With an aim to provide the same to companies, and to aid the implementing agencies in managing their CSR projects effectively, the government of India has launched the National CSR Exchange Portal on June 7, 2022, as part of celebrating Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav.
What is National CSR Exchange Portal?
The National CSR Exchange Portal is a digital initiative on CSR that will enable stakeholders to list, search, interact, engage and manage their CSR projects on a voluntary basis, according to an official release. The National CSR Exchange Portal shall serve as an e-marketplace hosting PAN India social welfare projects where stakeholders such as Implementing agencies can put up its ongoing projects and companies can select projects for CSR Spending as per their preferences and vice versa.
According to the website, the Exchange Portal has been developed on the basis of recommendations of the High-Level Committee on Corporate Social Responsibility 2018. An Advisory cum Technical Committee was formed for the development of the portal. The Committee was represented by different CSR Stakeholders – CSR Practitioners, Technical Experts, and Civil Society Organizations. The Committee apprised of BSE Sammaan which was an initiative of MCA Think Tank: Indian Institute of Corporate Affairs, Confederation of Indian Industry, and Bombay Stock Exchange which offered similar functionalities as envisaged for the National CSR Exchange Portal.
Why National CSR Exchange Portal?
Social development is not core expertise for most Corporates, most companies choose an implementing agency for executing projects. One of the recurring issues for companies to carry out CSR activities has been the identification of suitable Implementing Agencies (IAs). This Exchange Portal will help Corporates identify suitable Implementing Agencies for the successful implementation of their CSR Projects reducing their transaction cost.
According to the website, National CSR Exchange Portal also helps overcome a common challenge cited by Corporates for failing to fulfill their CSR obligations “inability to find suitable projects” based on their CSR Policy. CSR Exchange Portal resolves this issue by providing a platform to view projects proposed by various implementing agencies (IAs). It will allow them to list their CSR projects for raising funds from corporates.
In addition to this, there are a large number of Non-Government Agencies (NGOs) that are scouting for funds for their projects that could fit in the domain of CSR. National CSR Exchange Portal will help in connecting the Corporates and Implementing Agencies to work for the betterment of the country.
Union minister Nirmala Sitharaman flagged off the ‘Iconic Day’ celebrations of the corporate affairs ministry on Tuesday, June 7.
FM Sitharaman, who is in charge of the finance and corporate affairs ministries, as well as Minister of State for Corporate Affairs Rao Inderjit Singh and senior officials, among others, graced the event.
A commemorative postal stamp on investor awareness was released on the occasion. Besides, a short film ‘Journey of Corporate Governance in India: A Panorama’, film on investors oath, e-book ‘Compendium on CSR’, and a publication on IBC (Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code) were released.