Viewpoint: CSR As a Seed Fund for Social Enterprises
Would it not be great if a corporate social responsibility (CSR) fund becomes a seed or social fund for investment in a cluster of a dying art or a traditional skill and transforms it into a success story? Or, how about a CSR fund that transforms an entire village into one where all households are digitally literate?
Even better, how about a CSR fund to transform a remote, illiterate village into a Wi-Fi village?
I see a lot of positives in the way CSR is taking shape and the way companies are responding to it. We have just completed the first year of CSR after the enactment of the new companies law that makes it compulsory to spend 2% of the net profit of a company whose net worth is more than Rs.500 crore, or whose revenue is more than Rs.1,000 crore or the net profit is Rs.5 crore.
There were estimates that the total quantum of CSR funds will be no less than Rs.18,000-20,000 crore. However, looking at the analytics of how CSR has performed in 2014-15, the actual expenditure is just Rs.5,563 crore.
According to NGOBox, which recently released India CSR Outlook 2015, covering 250 companies, the figure for CSR obligations for 2014-15 was calculated to be Rs.7,040 crore. This means that the actual spend fell short of the obligation by Rs.1,477 crore.
As per NGOBox, CSR spend by these 250 companies will beRs.8,016 crore in 2015-16, an increase of more than Rs.1,000 crore.