14 May, 2021

Where Nexus Is Legitimate

CSR must focus on deprived groups, and not be used to curry favour

Where Nexus Is Legitimate

The Companies Act, 2013, has a unique clause that provides for companies to spend on corporate social responsibility (CSR). In recent times, no other clause has caught the attention of the state, business and civil society as much. Businesses are giving the utmost attention to CSR, with some reviving their own charitable foundations, which existed only on paper a few years ago. Civil society actors see CSR as an opportunity in a scenario where development sector funds are shrinking otherwise. And the government has created a dashboard on CSR funds spent, while also issuing notices to hundreds of companies for not following the letter of the law. The ministry of corporate affairs (MCA) in February this year estimated total CSR spending from 2014 to 2017 at a little over Rs 28,000 crore. There is no doubt that CSR has to some extent helped mainstream social res­ponsibility as a factor for businesses. One can see that corporate policies now speak about CSR in a big way, and terms such as dep­rived communities, caste and human rights have started appearing in business...

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