The ‘big 500’ companies in India contribute the lion’s share of more than 90 percent of the total Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) spends in India, and just 20 top corporations account for over 45 percent, a new survey revealed on Wednesday.
In terms of the geographical beneficiaries, Maharashtra received the biggest chunk of the total CSR fund spent in the country, followed by Rajasthan, Karnataka and Gujarat and together they account for around one-third of the total funds.
However, the northeastern states of Nagaland, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Tripura, and the Union Territories have received the lowest CSR funding so far.
The survey on the CSR activities was conducted by CSRBOX and NGOBOX, which revealed that by March 2019, CSR spending will cross Rs 50,000 crore mark.
Similarly, the CSR compliance is also expected to improve and fall in the range of 97-98 percent by net year 2019-2020, according to the survey, said CSRBOX-NGOBOX CEO Bhomik Shah.
“The research examined the CSR spending trend since the applicability of mandatory CSR with the Companies Act, 2103, for companies falling under certain criteria of annual profits or turnover or net worth. According to Ministry of Corporate Affairs, India has between 13,000-15,000 such companies,” Shah said.
The survey looked into the prescribed CSR and actual CSR trends in the past four years and projected the number for the current fiscal’s CSR spend by the ‘Big 500’ companies.
The research said that the ‘Big 500’ will spend over Rs 11,000 crore on social initiatives this year to comply with the CSR rules, Shah added.
The survey predicts that education will be the most favoured area of CSR activity in coming years, followed by skills development, which could be pumped in with Rs 15,000 crore CSR funds between 2014-2019.
Besides, healthcare, water and sanitation initiatives also received substantial CSR attention due to the ‘Swachh Bharat Mission’ and would receive Rs 14,000 crore by March 2019.
After analyzing CSR portfolios of companies in past four years, Shah said that an upward trend has been noticed for CSR compliance though the funding size for various initiatives is falling, suggesting that companies want to diversify their CSR activities.
“If the new recommendations by Sub-Legal Committee on CSR, constituted by the Ministry of Corporate Affairs in April 2018 are accepted by the government, then companies will not be allowed to carry forward the unspent CSR fund. This will boost the CSR compliance substantially,” Shah pointed out.
He explained that in the past, corporates used to write out cheques for government-instituted funds when they lacked expertise on development issues, but the scenario is reversing now with the government taking their support to show impact on ground through CSR interventions and boost official programmes — the real intention of making CSR mandatory.
“Mandatory CSR has made a lot of change in India’s development landscape. It has gradually formalised the corporate philanthropy with emphasis on impacts on the ground. With an average Rs 12,000 crore funding annually, there is a lot that can be done in education, healthcare and rural development areas,” said Shah.