New Delhi, October 29: The amount of money spent on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is acquiring good traction in the country with Rs 13,000 Crore being spent in a year on such activities with top priority to health and education sectors, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Tuesday. However, she urged the corporate firms to look beyond states like Gujarat, Maharashtra and Delhi, and also focus their CSR funds to regions like Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Odisha and the North East.
She was speaking at a function to award National Corporate Social Responsibility Awards in New Delhi.
“Since the time the CSR provision was added to the Companies Act, we see a great response in terms of companies coming onboard on their own and the amount spent is also acquiring a good traction that it has reached Rs 13,000 Crore annually within a matter of four years, and multiplying significantly each year,” the Finance Minister said.
She adds that most companies were picking causes that were very relevant for a comprehensive development of the hinterland.
“I find a lot of companies giving preference for projects which have an emphasis on education, skill training and health, which brings the dimension where government efforts alone cannot deliver completely providing the kind of support system that is needed for education and health. And hence, CSR going to those causes makes a lot of sense,” Sitharaman said.
“We also find a significant presence of CSR in states like Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Delhi. I wish states which also require some support from CSR in regions like Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Odisha and the North East also receive the same attention,” she added.
The awards instituted by the Ministry of Corporate Affairs in order to recognise outstanding contribution in the field of CSR were presented by President Ram Nath Kovind.
Speaking on the occasion, he noted that those sections of society that need a helping hand most are among the main beneficiaries of the CSR activities. He said that the corporations were helping the nation progress towards the cherished goal of building a more equitable society.
The President said that broadly, CSR initiatives had been aligned with the national priorities such as public health, education, livelihoods, water conservation, sanitation, and natural resource management. He expressed hope that innovative solutions to development challenges will emerge from the CSR activities.
In September, the scope of CSR activities was widened to include more categories of research incubators.
“This thrust on research and development will immensely help innovators. It is equally important to internalise social welfare in the corporate culture,” Kovind said.