Nowadays, corporate social responsibility or more commonly referred to as CSR is no longer something that businesses and organizations do to feel good, it’s the need of the hour!
Whether it’s to the community via CSR support for children, or giving back to mother nature through various recycling initiatives, etc., after all, giving back to people and our planet is our own responsibility.
And when it comes to India, is the only country in the world that requires companies to have a corporate social responsibility policy. In India, Section 135 of the Companies Act 2013 makes it mandatory for businesses that
- Have a net worth of more than Rs 500 crore, or
- Turnover of more than Rs 1000 crore, or
- Net profit exceeding Rs 5 crore
in the last financial year to use a minimum of 2 percent of their average net profit for any activity that is provided for in a list compiled by the government. It can be utilised in charitable activities like education, healthcare, water conservation etc. The Corporate Social Responsibility bill was enacted in the parliament in 2013 and became a law in 2014. Since the introduction of the bill in 2013, many changes have been incorporated in the CSR law.
The CSR law clearly specifies that three Board directors must form a CSR committee, which is tasked with creating and enforcing each company’s Corporate Social Responsibility Policy. It also dictates that the CSR policy should be elaborate, and the money spent needs to be audited. Further, the committee will be liable for every rupee spent; and the policy as well as the CSR activities undertaken must be detailed by the company in its annual report and on its website.
As per a report by KPMG in 2019, the maximum amount of money spent on CSR was on education followed by healthcare. However, in healthcare the focus has been mainly in Primary Healthcare. The onset of Covid-19 has decreased the CSR spent in different areas of development considerably, as most of the money has been directed towards Covid Relief. In tertiary healthcare, cancer treatment gets the maximum traction. Large Public Sector Undertakings have supported the building of cancer hospitals in various parts of India.
With increasing awareness about Congenital Heart Defects, companies have started CSR support for children. Various child heart Foundations are getting support from different corporates under their CSR projects. The potential to create an impact is enormous for Foundations as they work towards a healthier tomorrow for India on this sustainable model.
Some companies also engage in voluntary socially beneficial work as they believe that engaging in activism is important for businesses to boost their own brand.
Genesis Foundation (www.genesis-foundation.net) is one such child heart Foundation that utilises money raised through CSR for support for children with Congenital Heart Defects. This makes a huge difference in lives of the children with CHD because once treated they can lead a near/normal life. In a country like India, the impact is huge as every year over 200,000 children are born with heart defects. A majority of this population is unable to afford the expensive medical care offered, thus companies through their CSR can save lakhs of children with CHD.