In 2014, the Indian government passed an Amendment to the Companies Act 2013 making Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) mandatory for all established businesses with a minimum net worth of Rs 500 crore ($71.42 million).
It mandates companies to spend 2 percent of their average net profits for the previous three years. In doing so, India became the first country to introduce such an act.
In 2019, the government introduced another amendment under the Companies (Amendment) Act 2019, making it mandatory for companies to spend the stated budget in the current financial year and not carry forward to the next as practiced earlier. Any unspent money is deposited into a fund set up under Schedule VII of the Act failing which a penalty is imposed on the firm.
In FY 2018-19, the total spending on CSR was Rs 10,904.01 crore, covering 6,131 projects.
Top 10 highest spending businesses on CSR in FY 2018-19:
1. Reliance Industries Ltd: Rs 849.3 crore
In terms of scale and coverage, RIL has the highest CSR spend, touching lives across the most extensive territories in India. The CSR initiative covers rural transformation, health, education, sports development, disaster response, arts, culture, heritage, and urban renewal.
In rural transformation, RIL made 75 percent of the villages covered under the program water secure, 75 percent of families under the program were made food secure, 80 percent increase in nutrition among children studying in Anganwadi schools, 77 percent farmers reported increase in farm income, 83 percent farmers reported reduction in input cost of farm implements, and 75 percent of fisherfolk reported better outcomes as a result of RIL advisory.
2. ONGC Ltd: Rs 614.6 crore
The company exceeded its spending over the previous year. Of this, the company spent Rs 246 crores on health care which included a 300-bed hospital in Shivsagar district, Assam, part-financed a 455-bed Cancer hospital in Nagpur, operated 31 mobile medical units covering 371 villages in 9 states, and a new wing for pre and post-natal treatments in the 168-year old Lady Goschen Government Hospital in Mangalore. The company also spent Rs 246 crores on water and sanitation projects as part of the Swachh Bharat initiatives.
3. IOC Ltd: Rs 490.61 crore
The IOC ran several CSR programs, ‘Vidushi,’ ‘Aaroyam,’ ‘Divyangjans,’ ‘Robotic Scavenging,’ and ‘Sports Scholarships.’
Its Vidushi initiative aimed at educating and preparing underprivileged girls to prepare for competitive exams for admission to IIT, NIT, CET. It trained 56 girls spread over two training centres in Odisha and Noida.
4. HDFC Bank Ltd: Rs 443.80 crore
HDFC Bank increased its CSR spend by 20 per cent over the previous year (FY17-18). The bank’s CSR initiatives touched 5 million lives. It trained 7.6 lakh, women, in Self-Help Groups (SHG), supplied 21,000 renewable energy units, built or renovated 7,000 sanitation facilities in schools, and collected 1 million units of blood.
5. Tata Consultancy Ltd: Rs 434.0 crore
TCS encourages internal volunteer participation in CSR initiatives through the Purpose4life platform through which its employees collectively contributed 6,50,000 employee hours. Education and skill-building at the school level remained a major focus with programmes like ‘Lab on Bike,’ ‘Science and Math Labs,’ ‘Launchpad,’ ‘InsighT,’ ‘Avasara Academy,’ and ‘BridgeIT.’ BridgeIT is a school learning and adult learning enabler in rural communities covering 36,044 students spread across nine states. Over 5,077 adults and 236 entrepreneurs also benefited from the program.
6. Infosys Ltd: Rs 342.0 crore
The Infosys Foundation, established in 1996, carries out sustainable CSR initiatives working with various NGOs covering several focus programmes. In Bengaluru city, the company spent Rs 102 crore in different programmes, education, healthcare, malnutrition, destitute care. The company also supported disaster relief in Karnataka, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu.
7. Tata Steel Ltd: Rs 314.9 crore
The Tata Group’s adoption of CSR as part of its corporate philosophy dates back to its foundation years, and Tata Steel has been at the forefront of several ongoing community development programmes. In FY 18-19, its initiatives touched 1.1 million lives and aim to exceed 2 million by 2025.
In addition to its several ongoing programmes involving over 600 professionals, Tata Steel ran initiatives in Maternity and newborn care, safe sexual health education for rural adolescents, outreach healthcare services through Mobile Medical Units, HIV-AIDS and Leprosy eradication programmes, among others.
8. ITC Ltd: Rs 307.0 crore
The ITC spent Rs 123.16 crore on Healthcare, Sanitation, and Well-Being Out of Waste Program (WOW) covering East Godavari in A.P., Kolkata, Bengaluru, Chennai, and Ahmedabad.
Besides, the company spent Rs 51.45 crore on Rural Development; Rs 53.48 crore on Social Forestry; Rs 22.78 crore on Primary Education; Rs15.56 crore on Vocational Training; Rs 12.02 crore on Economic Empowerment of Women; Rs 4.58 crore on Soil and Moisture Conservation; Rs 3.78 crore on Musical-sub genres; Rs 3.24 crore on Livestock Development; Rs 1.75 crore on Livelihood Enhancement.
9. NTPC Ltd: Rs 285.46 Crore
The NTPC spent 2.41 per cent, thus exceeding the mandated 2 per cent target for CSR spend. The company has several ongoing CSR programmes touching over 1 million lives in 500 villages and 450 schools across its plant and office locations in India.
Its activities covered rural healthcare, education, girl child and women’s development, community development, drinking water initiatives, sanitation programmes, sports and infrastructure development in rural areas, and cultural activities.
10. Power Grid Corporation Ltd: Rs 195.5 crore
The company has committed to spending Rs 360 crore over the coming two-three years with a focus on rural community development covering healthcare, education, child and women’s development, among others.
On 29 June 2018, a 300-bed Powergrid Vishram Sadan at J.P. Apex Trauma Centre was inaugurated by the Prime Minister. It has taken up the Swachh sanitation program in a big way.