2018 was quite eventful with regard to corporate social responsibility. Here is a lookback at major events in this domain.
The corporate affairs ministry gives permission for penal action against 196 companies for violating corporate social responsibility norms in 2014-15 fiscal, according to union minister P P Chaudhary.
Tata Sons’ flagship firms had started collaborating formally with Tata Trusts, their principal shareholder, on CSR programmes as part of the One Tata approach being espoused by N Chandrasekaran, chairman, Tata Sons, and Ratan Tata, chairman, Tata Trusts, to streamline all charitable spending by the $103 billion group into one unified, powerful programme, said two people with direct knowledge of the matter who prefer to remain anonymous.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave a 100-day deadline to the heads of central public sector enterprises (CPSEs) to come out with a roadmap with “measurable targets” for strengthening state-owned companies and promoting development activities. Addressing a CPSE conclave here, Modi also suggested that their corporate social responsibility spend should be focused largely on one specific theme each year. He asked the CPSEs to come with implementation roadmaps along with “measurable targets”.
The government decides to overhaul the CSR framework, and conduct audit of the welfare projects implemented by corporates under their corporate social responsibility programme. “We want to take a fresh look at the quality and efficacy of CSR expenditure. The basic idea is to add quality dimension to the CSR spends. There should be sort of social impact of the project undertaken by corporates, an official said. The govt. is considering engaging a third party to monitor projects. “It will be kind of random checking,” he added.
The Ministry of Corporate Affairs issues “preliminary notices” to 272 companies for alleged non-compliance with CSR provisions under the companies’ law. In a written reply to the Rajya Sabha, the Minister of State for Corporate Affairs P P Chaudhary said whenever violation of corporate social responsibility provision is reported, the Registrar of Companies takes action after due examination of records.
Public sector companies may have spent more on the Sardar Patel statue, billed as the world’s tallest, than was noted by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG). The country’s topmost auditor had flagged the contributions in a report because the money came from the companies’ corporate social responsibility budgets, even though the statue did not qualify under the relevant provision.
The Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) sends fresh notices to over 5,000 companies that have failed to spend 2% of their profits on social welfare activities under the mandatory CSR policy. A total of 5,382 companies have been identified so far in the current fiscal year. The violations pertain to 2015-16. The next step will be showcause notices followed by the filing of cases in the court. The action will also be initiated in case of corporate social responsibility violations during 2016-17 and 2017-18.