CSR implies a concept, whereby companies decide voluntarily to contribute to a better society and a cleaner environment – a concept, whereby the companies integrate social and other useful concerns in their business operations for the betterment of its stakeholders and society in general in a voluntary way.
The provisions of CSR applies to
- every company
- its holding company
- its subsidiary company
- foreign company
Having in the preceding financial year
- Net Worth > 500 Crore
- Turnover > 1000 Crore
- Net Profit > 5 Crore
Importance of Corporate Social Responsibility
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is an immense term which is used to explain the efforts of a company in order to improve society in any other way.
- CSR improves the public image by publicizing the efforts towards a better society and increase their chance of becoming favorable in the eyes of consumers.
- CSR increases media coverage as media visibility throws a positive light on the organization.
- CSR enhances the company’s brand value by building a socially strong relationship with customers
- CSR helps companies to stand out from the competition when companies are involved in any kind of community.
Role of Board of Directors
The role of the Board of Directors is explained below
- After considering the recommendations made by the CSR Committee, approve the CSR policy for the Company.
- The Board must ensure only those activities must be undertaken which are mentioned in the policy
- The Board of Directors shall make sure that the company spends in every financial year, minimum 2% of the average net profits made during the 3 immediately preceding financial years as per CSR policy.
- In case a company has not completed 3 financial years since its incorporation, the average net profits shall be calculated for the financial years since its incorporation.
- The Board’s Report shall disclose –
- CSR Committee’s composition
- the contents of CSR Policy
- In case CSR spending does not meet 2% as per CSR Policy, the reasons for the unspent amount, and details of the transfer of unspent amount relating to ongoing project to a specified fund (transfer within a period of six months from the expiry of the financial year).
Transfer and Use of Unspent Amount
The specified funds for transfer of unspent amount are:
- A contribution made to the prime minister’s national relief fund.
- Any other fund which is initiated by the central government concerning socio-economic development, relief and welfare of the scheduled caste, minorities, tribes, women and other backward classes.
- A contribution made to a incubator which is funded either by the central government, the state government, public sector undertaking of state or central Government, or any other agency.
- Contributions made to public-funded universities, National Laboratories and Autonomous Bodies (established under the auspices of Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Department of Atomic Energy (DAE), Indian Institute of Technology (IITs), Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology), and Department of Science and Technology (DST) engaged in conducting research in technology, science, medicine, and engineering aimed at encouraging Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
- In case of the unspent amount relating to an ongoing project under the company’s CSR policy, the amount shall be transferred by the firm in less than 30 days from the end of the financial year to a exclusive account to be opened by a firm in any scheduled bank. The account shall be designated ‘Unspent Corporate Social Responsibility Account’, and the funds shall be used towards its obligations under the CSR policy within a period of three financial years from the date of the transfer. In a case where the company fails to utilise the funds at the end of the three financial years, the funds should be transferred to the specified fund mentioned above within a period of thirty days upon completion of the third financial year.
Constitution of the CSR Committee
- Every company to which CSR criteria is applicable shall constitute a Corporate Social Responsibility of the Board (i.e. CSR Committee).
- Minimum 3 or more directors must form CSR Committee.
- Among those 3 directors, at least 1 director must be an independent director.
- An unlisted public company or a private company shall have its CSR Committee without any independent director if an independent director is not required.
- In case of a foreign company, the CSR Committee shall comprise of at least 2 persons of which one person shall be a person resident in India authorized to accept on behalf of the foreign company – the services of notices and other documents. Also, the other person shall be nominated by the foreign company.
Duties of the CSR Committee
- The CSR Committee shall formulate and recommend a CSR policy to the Board. CSR policy shall point out the activities to be undertaken by the company as enumerated in Schedule VII.
- CSR Committee shall recommend the amount of expenditure to be incurred on the CSR activities to be undertaken by the company.
- CSR Committee shall monitor the CSR policy of the Company from time to time.
- The committee shall establish the transparent controlling mechanism for the implementation of the CSR projects or programs or activities undertaken by the company
With respect to CSR Reporting, the provisions are as follows :
- The Board’s Report referring to any financial year initiating on or after the 1st day of April 2014 shall include an annual report on CSR.
- In case of a foreign company, the balance sheet filed shall contain an annexure regarding report on CSR.
CSR Policy elaborates the activities to be undertaken by the Company as named in Schedule VII to the Act and spend. The activities should not the same which are done by the company in its normal course of business
- Contents of CSR Policy should be placed on the company’s website by the Board
- The activities mentioned in the policy must be undertaken by the company
- The Company can join hands with other companies for undertaking projects or programs or CSR activities and report separately on such programs or projects
- The CSR policy shall monitor the projects or programs.
List of Permitted Activities To Be included in accordance with Schedule VII of the Companies Act, 2013
The Board shall ensure that the activities included by a company in its CSR Policy fall within the purview of the activities included is schedule VII. Some activities are specified in Schedule VII as the activities which may be included by companies in their Corporate Social Responsibility Policies. These activities are related to :
|1||abolishing poverty, malnourishment and hunger, improvising health care which includes preventive health care and sanitation and making available safe drinking water|
|2||improvement in education which includes special education and employment strengthening vocation skills among children, women, elderly and the differently abled and livelihood enhancement projects|
|3||improving gender equality, setting up homes and hostels for women and orphans|
|4||introducing the measures for reducing inequalities faced by socially and economically backward groups|
|5||Safeguarding environmental sustainability, ecological balance, protection of flora and fauna, animal welfare, agroforestry, conservation of natural resources and maintaining a quality of soil, air and water which also includes a contribution for rejuvenation of river Ganga|
|6||protection of national heritage, art and culture including restoration of buildings and sites of historical importance and works of art; setting up public libraries; promotion and development of traditional arts and handicrafts|
|7||areas for the advantage of skilled armed forces, war widows and their dependents|
|8||training to stimulate rural sports, nationally recognized sports, Paralympic sports and Olympic sports|
|9||contribution to the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund or any other fund set up by the Central Government for socio-economic development providing relief and welfare of the Scheduled Castes, the Scheduled and backward classes, minorities and women|
|10||contributions or funds provided to technology incubators which are approved by the Central Government|
|11||rural development projects|
|12||disaster management, including relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction activities
|13||slum area development where ‘slum area’ shall mean any area declared as such by the Central Government or any State Government or any other competent authority under any law for the time being in force|
Explanation: For the purposes of this item “slum area” shall mean any area declared as such by the Central Government or any State Government or any other competent authority under any law for the time being in force.
Fines and Penalties for Non-Compliance
In case a company fails to comply with the provisions relating to CSR spending, transferring and utilising the unspent amount, the company will be punishable with a minimum fine of Rs 50,000 which may increase to Rs 25 lakh. Further, every officer of such company who defaults in the compliance will be liable for a punishment which is imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years or with a minimum fine of Rs 50,000 which may increase to Rs 5 lakh , or with both.
Reason For Introduction of CSR for Companies
We live a dynamic life in a world that is growing more and more complex. Global scale environment, social, cultural and economic issues have now become part of our everyday life. Boosting profits is no longer the sole business performance indicator for the corporate and they have to play the role of responsible corporate citizens as they owe a duty towards the society.
The concept of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), introduced through Companies Act, 2013 puts a greater responsibility on companies in India to set out clear CSR framework.
Many corporate houses like TATA and Birla have been engaged in doing CSR voluntarily. The Act introduces the culture of corporate social responsibility (CSR) in Indian corporate requiring companies to formulate a CSR policy and spend on social upliftment activities
CSR is all about corporate giving back to society. The Company Secretaries are expected to be known about the legal and technical requirements with respect to CSR in order to guide the management and Board