The corporate social responsibility (CSR) expenditure of 2014-15 could have been more by Rs 2444.6 crore had 266 companies spent their mandated CSR funds. Reply to an RTI filed by Factly stated so. Minister of Corporate Affairs Arun Jaitley had mentioned that 460 companies spent Rs 6,337 crore in first year of implementation of the mandate.
“Rs 2444 crore is a huge amount. Just to put in perspective, it is more than the entire budgetary allocation for Skill India Program, more than the budgetary allocation for Ministry of Sports, more than the allocation for Drinking water, etc,” said Rakesh Dubbudu, Transparency campaigner and founder of Factly.
Public sector company- Oil and Natural Gas Corporation of India (ONGC) did not spend Rs 165.38 crore, the largest among the 266 companies. Surprisingly ONGC also happens to be the second largest contributor to the CSR funds with expenditure of Rs 495.23 crore.
The combined expenditure of the top 10 companies who were not able to spend the prescribed amount on their CSR initiative was Rs 865 crore. As many as 34 companies didn’t even spend a single rupee on any CSR activity.
Section 135 of the Companies Act, 2013 mandates companies above a certain net worth to spend 2% of their profits on social activities. In case these companies fail to do so they have to follow the principle of “Comply or Explain.”
“There must be better ways of monitoring & evaluation. Merely asking the companies to state reasons will not help. Some kind of accountability is required,” commented Dubbudu, on the unspent CSR funds.
Bharti Airtel Ltd, NTPC Ltd, HDFC Ltd and Tata Consultancy Services Ltd are some of the companies in the list of top 10 companies in terms of unspent CSR expenditure.
‘Multi-year projects or suitable projects not found’ and ‘delay due to first year of CSR implementation’ were some of the most common reasons given by companies for not spending the required amounts.
Well-known companies like Idea Cellular, PC Jewellers, Finolex Cables, Monsanto, etc were amongst the 34 companies who did not spend a single rupee on their CSR.
Reliance Industries, Tata Steel, Wipro Ltd, Indian Oil Corp Ltd, Oil India Ltd, Hindustan Unilever Ltd, etc were amongst the companies who were able to exceed the prescribed expenditure on their CSR programme.
Surprisingly in March, 2016 the Rajya Sabha was informed that public sector units have been able to utilise 71% of their mandated CSR funds and the private sector was able to utilise 79%.
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The CSR Journal Team