The government on Friday constituted a High Level Committee on Corporate Social Responsibility-2018 (HLC-2018) under the Chairmanship of Injeti Srinivas, Secretary, Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) to review the existing framework, guide and formulate the roadmap for a coherent policy on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).
The members of the committee will be DG, Indian Institute of Corporate Affairs; Chairman, SEBI or his representative; N. Chandrasekharan, Chairman Tata Sons; Amit Chandra, MD, Bain Capital Private Equity; P. S. Narasimha, Additional Solicitor General; Anil K Gupta, Founder Honey Bee Network and Prof. IIM-A; Prakash Padukone, Former World Badminton Champion; S Santhanakrishnan, Chartered Accountant; Mathew Cherian, CEO Helpage India; and Joint Secretary, Ministry of Corporate Affairs. The Committee is expected to submit its report within three months from the date of holding its first meeting.
According to Ministry of Corporate Affairs, the Committee will review the existing CSR framework as per Act, rules and circulars issued from time to time and recommend guidelines for better enforcement of CSR provisions. It will also analyse outcomes of CSR activities/programmes/projects and suggest measures for effective monitoring and evaluation of CSR by companies. Suggestions are also expected on innovative solutions, use of technology, platform to connect stakeholders, and social audit.
The provisions of section 135 of Companies Act, 2013 (Act) pertaining to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) came into force on 01.04.2014 with a view to promoting responsible and sustainable business through inclusive growth.
The four years of implementation have enabled compilation of data on the number of companies complying with CSR provisions, funds allocated and spent across various sectors, geographical spread of CSR spending, etc. Experience has also been gained on the quantum, outreach and impact of CSR (which is estimated to be around Rs. 38, 000 crore up to FY 2016-17) and immense feedback has been received on how CSR provisions can be leveraged to have larger and more impactful outcomes, the MCA said.
The existing provisions of in Companies Act, 2013 with respect to CSR fully empower the Board of a Company to decide on their CSR Policy, approve projects and oversee implementation. Many suggestions with respect to CSR such as local preference, earmarking CSR spend for backward areas, contribution to national/state funds, notifying priority areas, monitoring compliance, supplementing / complimenting government programmes, etc. have been received from various stakeholders. The Ministry had earlier set up a High Level Committee on CSR in 2015 which made several recommendations, including review of CSR framework after three years which is almost over.