The Government of India has decided to expand the scope of corporate spending under corporate social responsibility (CSR) norms. This decision will allow the companies to contribute towards research across various fields such as science, technology and medicine. Besides, CSR funds can now be spent on incubators funded by the Centre or state or any state-owned entity. This is expected to attract more funds for research and development in India.
Welcoming the move, IIT Gandhinagar director Sudhir Jain said that while IITs had been making efforts to bring in money through other channels, the announcement will now provide greater clarity among corporates to invest in research at the premier institutes.
“We already had made an effort to bring philanthropic money for doing things that were not possible through government money. Earlier, the CSR law talked about education in general but companies used to be a little confused. Now the announcement makes it clear for corporates that their contributions to IIT will qualify as CSR. This will also help us improve the quality of research which will go a long way in boosting IITs’ standing in global rankings,” said Jain.
The corporates too have welcomed the move. Jaivir Singh, VC and president, PwC India Foundation, has said, “The thrust towards research-based innovation is a much-needed step and in the right direction. Integration with established private enterprises in key sectors will provide the required impetus for a future-ready economy.”
On similar lines, Dr Azad Moopen, founder chairman of Aster DM Healthcare said, “The broadening of areas for CSR is a welcome move which will boost innovation and research in the country for companies like us who are thickly involved in this area with own Innovation Centre and research lab.”
Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) assistant secretary-general and education consultant Shobha Ghosh, welcomed the move, by saying, “Earlier, much of CSR funding that came to varsities used to be for purposes other than research. This is a way forward now. However, as an industry body, we will continue to lobby for parity among public and private universities. While funding public universities should get this money, why discriminate between public and private institutes? CSR spending should be outcome-based so that corporates are aware of what is happening with their money.”