India Inc’s Corporate Social responsibility (CSR) spend for FY 2020-21 fell sharply to ₹8,828.11 crore, much lower than the cumulative spends of ₹20,150.27 crore in FY2018-19 and ₹24,688.66 crore in FY 2019-20, official data submitted to Parliament showed. An analysis of CSR filings made by the companies revealed that of the total annual CSR spent, about 60 per cent of the CSR expenditure has been done through implementation agencies, said Rao Inderjeet Singh, Minister of State for Corporate Affairs in a written reply to a Lok Sabha question.
So far this financial year beginning April 1, as many as 1,619 companies have done CSR spend of ₹8,828.21 crore. Of these, as many as 1,599 are non-PSUs, while 20 are PSUs. Non-PSUs spend for CSR in 2020-21 stood at ₹8,266.93 crore, while the 20 PSUs cumulatively spent ₹561.18 crore, as per available official data up to September 30 this year. In previous years of 2019-20 and 2018-19, as many as 22,531 and 25,099 companies, respectively, spent ₹24,688.66 crore and ₹20,150.27 crore towards CSR.
The government provides the broad framework for CSR through Section 135 of the Companies Act, 2013, Schedule VII of the Act and Companies (CSR Policy) Rules, 2014. In India, CSR is a Board-driven process and the boards of companies are empowered to undertake CSR activities either by themselves or through implementing agencies. The CSR architecture is disclosure-based and only CSR-mandated companies are required to file details of CSR spent annually in the MCA-21 registry. The registration of such agencies with the government was made mandatory from April 1 this year. Till October 31, a total of 17,130 implementing agencies were registered with the ministry’s MCA21 registry.