July 25, 2018
Derek O’Brien speaks on inclusion of contribution to Chief Minister’s Relief Fund to the list of CSR activities
The Companies Act, 2013 laid out a comprehensive corporate social responsibility framework. This framework is provided by Section 135 of the Act and the Corporate Social Responsibility Policy Rules of 2014. It mandates companies meeting certain specifications to spend a specified proportion of profits on corporate social responsibility activities.
Schedule VII of the Act outlines a large number of activities like eradicating extreme hunger and poverty, promotion of education, promoting gender equality and empowering women, etc.
Schedule VII specifically provides that contribution to Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund is an eligible activity under CSR. However, contribution to the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund is not included in the list.
West Bengal, like other states, has an established Chief Minister’s Relief Fund. This Fund has been used to provide relief to the most needy and distressed people in their times of grave financial crisis. Among other benefits, this fund has enabled the poor to get much needed emergency medical help.
However this Fund is always under financial stress due to lack of contributions by corporates and the State has been unable to fulfil all requests made for support.
The inclusion of contribution to the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund as one of the eligible activities under CSR will bring parity with the provision including contribution to the Prime Minister’s Relief Fund. It would also go a long way in helping the poor and needy in the state to get support from the Fund.