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- India needs to improve its ranking in different human development indexes. I agree with Fiinovation that there needs to be organised efforts towards the same. The way social sector programmes are being implemented in this country we have to make sincere efforts to achieve better rankings. Assessment of the social programmes is essential for understanding the impact on the local communities.
- One of the major outbreaks in society has occurred after the introduction of CSR consultancies such as Fiinovation, which is performing a very vital role in transforming society. It is impacting on the life of oppressed who don’t have enough resources to survive.
Moreover, they are diminishing the difference in the society.
- I have been associated with the social development sector from the past decade. My experience suggests that there will be huge impact of climate change over the monsoons in India. This is why I agree with the CSR & Sustainability organisation, Fiinovation which urges the nation to adopt sustainable measures to combat the impact of climate change. We are not in a position to grow unsustainably as the lives of the future generations is at stake. Hope, after ratification of the climate change agreement in Paris, India will definitely encourage sustainability initiatives.
- As soon as central government introduced ‘skill India scheme’, many cities were facilitated with its learning centre. Although, our village was not included in it. Later, and we demanded and complaint about it. I am thankful that Fiinovation, a leading CSR consultancy helped us to open few learning centre under CSR.
- I am very thankful to government and corporate and also fiinovation, which has changed many lives through CSR, especially those who were dealing with contagious diseases like leprosy.
- NGO’s and corporate both are the main working body in a CSR program. A consultancy has to manage very hard to keep them both on same page. Leading consultancies like fiinovation are doing this effectively for many years.
- In some parts of countries, women are still in very miserable conditions, especially those areas which are the centre of human trafficking. I would like to urge government as well as CSR consultancies like fiinovation and others to work to develop their condition under CSR.
- According to Fiinovation, only few corporates in India have taken up CSR project related to heritage preservation. This is really not a good sign for country.
Getting Familiar with Legalities of CSR
India has attained the distinction of being the first country in the world to make CSR spending mandatory. Just over a couple of years, the CSR law enforced in 2014 is still in its nascent stages, and seems to have already received good press. However there is divided opinion on the success of the CSR law as the initiative is largely driven by voluntary contributions from the corporate world, which already has quite a few pro-active social and eco-friendly projects already up and running.
As for companies who are yet to board the CSR bandwagon, here are a few pointers worth noting.
According to the Indian Companies Act 2013, companies that meet specific threshold conditions must chart out a CSR Policy, spend a stipulated amount of profits on CSR initiatives and furnish CSR reports in a prescribed format to prove compliance. Companies must also be able to justify non-compliance if any, by explaining the reasons behind it.
CSR – Applicability Criteria
Companies are subject to CSR regulations if at all they have for any fiscal year, a minimum
- net profit of Rs.5 Crores or
- turnover of Rs.1,000 Crores or
- net worth of Rs.500 Crore
CSR – Compulsory Spending
Companies that meet one or more of the above mentioned criteria are required to spend at least 2% of their average net profit earned over a period of previous 3 financial years. Net profits reported based on New Act are considered for the purpose, and need not re-computed if based on the 1956 Act.
Profits from overseas operations of a company are not taken into account when arriving at net profits. Similarly, dividends received from other CSR compliant Indian firms are also excluded from computation.
CSR – Permitted Activities
There is a list of CSR activities mentioned in Schedule VII of the New Companies Act addressing needs related to:
- Eradication of hunger, poverty, pollution
- Promoting education, employment, livelihood
- Promoting gender equality, empowering women and caring for elders
- Ensuring sustainable environment and natural resources
- Benefits for ex-servicemen and their dependants or survivors
- Promoting traditional sports
- Contributions for Technology incubators
- Developing Rural / Slum areas
- Contributions for national and local community funds
Each of these social, ethical and environmental causes offers ample scope for positive action, which preferably must be taken up in the areas where the company is operational.
CSR – Reporting
Along with the regular annual financial statements and report from Board of Directors, the Company must also present a CSR report in a prescribed format. The report must include a synopsis of the CSR Policy, CSR committee details, Average net profit (for 3 preceding years) and details of CSR expenditure. As mentioned earlier, the company must explain the reasons behind failure to comply with the minimum spending limit when reporting CSR expenditure.
CSR – Enforcements and Penalties
There are no clear rules to enforce compliance nor are there any penalties associated with non-compliance, part from having companies explain why they were unable to address CSR obligations or spend the minimum funds required.
If a company doesn’t meet the stipulated threshold criteria for 3 consecutive financial years, it is not expected to meet CSR obligations.
It must be however be noted that non-compliance must be supported by adequate proof for not being able to do so. Failure to make reasons clear is punishable according to the New Act, and in such cases operations and accounts of the firm may be subjected to close scrutiny and investigations.
Companies may team up with other firms to discharge their CSR obligations; however each firm must present an individual CSR report. Also CSR initiatives can be implemented with the help of NGOs and trusts provided they have a proven track record of at least 3 years in such projects. Companies are also allowed to spend up to 5% of their annual CSR expenditure to hone CSR capabilities of in-house staff and those of their implementation agencies.
Established CSR consultants such as Fiinovation can help companies better understand and address CSR legalities in a comprehensive and effective manner.
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