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Govt panel tables report on CSR; moots for making CSR tax deductible

Published: Aug 13, 2019

By TIOLCORPLAWS News Service

NEW DELHI, AUG 13, 2019: THE Secretary (Corporate Affairs), Mr Injeti Srinivas, today presented the Report of the High Level Committee on CSR to the Union Minister of Finance and Corporate Affairs, Ms Nirmala Sitharaman. The Committee has made far reaching recommendations.  The main recommendations  include, making CSR expenditure tax deductible, provision for carry forward of unspent balance for a period of 3 - 5 years, aligning Schedule 7 with the SDGs by adopting a SDG plus framework (which would additionally include sports promotion, Senior Citizens'  welfare, welfare of differently abled persons, disaster management and heritage protection), balancing local area preferences with national priorities, introducing impact assessment studies for CSR obligation of 5 crore or more and registration of implementation agencies on MCA portal. 

The other recommendations include developing a CSR exchange portal to connect contributors, beneficiaries and agencies, allowing CSR in social benefit bonds, promoting social impact companies, and third party assessment of major CSR projects.

The Committee has emphasized on not treating CSR as a means of resource gap funding for government schemes. The Committee discourages passive contribution of CSR into different funds included in Schedule VII of the Act.  It has emphasized on CSR spending as a board driven process to provide innovative technology based solutions for social problems.  The Committee has also recommended that companies having CSR prescribed amount below Rs. 50 lakh may be exempted from constituting a CSR Committee.  The Committee has also recommended that violation of CSR compliance may be made a civil offence and shifted to the penalty regime.

The High Level Committee on CSR was constituted in October, 2018 under the Chairmanship of Secretary (Corporate Affairs) to review the existing CSR framework and make recommendations on strengthening the CSR ecosystem, including monitoring implementation and evaluation of outcomes.  The Members of the Committee included Mr Sameer Sharma, DG & CEO, Indian Institute of Corporate Affairs, Dr A.K. Mittal, former CMD, NBCC, Mr N. Chandrasekaran, Chairman, Tata Sons, Mr Amit Chandra, MD, Bain Capital Private Equity, Mr B.S. Narasimha, former Addl. Solicitor General of India, Mr Rajeev Luthra, Founder & MD, Luthra and Luthra Law Office, Ms Shobana Kamineni,  Executive Vice Chairperson, Apollo,    Prof. Anil Gupta, Founder, Honey Bee Network and Professor, IIM, Ahmedabad, Dr Narinder Dhruv Batra, President, Indian Olympic Association, Mr S. Santhanakrishnan. Chartered Accountant and Mr Mathew Cherian, CEO, Helpage India.  Mr Gyaneshwar Kumar Singh, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Corporate Affairs, was the Member and Convener.

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