The Central Government vide Gazette notification dated January 22, 2021 has introduced Companies (Corporate Social Responsibility Policy) Amendment Rules, 2021.
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) means the activities undertaken by a Company in pursuance of its statutory obligation laid down in section 135 of the Act in accordance with the provisions contained in these rules, but shall not include the following, namely:-
(i) activities undertaken in pursuance of normal course of business of the company:
(ii) any activity undertaken by the company outside India except for training of Indian sports personnel representing any State or Union territory at national level or India at international level;
(iii) contribution of any amount directly or indirectly to any political party under section 182 of the Act;
(iv) activities benefitting employees of the company as defined in clause (k) of section 2 of the Code on Wages, 2019 (29 of 2019);
(v) activities supported by the companies on sponsorship basis for deriving marketing benefits for its products or services;
(vi) activities carried out for fulfilment of any other statutory obligations under any law in force in India;
Administrative overheads means the expenses incurred by the company for ‘general management and administration’ of CSR functions in the company but shall not include the expenses directly incurred for the designing, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of a particular CSR project or programme. These shall not exceed 5% of total CSR expenditure
Ongoing Project” * means a multi-year CSR project having timelines not exceeding 3 years excluding the FY in which it was commenced, and shall include such project that was initially not approved as a multi-year project but whose duration has been extended beyond 1 year by the Board based on reasonable justification;
Apart from Section 8 Company or a Registered Society or any entity established under an Act of Parliament or a State legislature; or, CSR activities can be undertaken through “Registered public trust” established by the Company or along with other Company. If that is not the case, then it should have atleast 3 years track record. [earlier the term was “Registered Trust”]
A company may engage international organisations for designing, monitoring and evaluation of the CSR projects or programmes as per its CSR policy as well as for capacity building of their own personnel for CSR.
The Board shall satisfy itself that the funds so disbursed have been utilised for the purposes and in the manner as approved by it and the CFO or the person responsible for financial management shall certify to the effect.
CSR Policy shall have reference of annual action plan. CSR Committee shall formulate and recommend to the Board, an annual action
Plan in pursuance of its CSR policy, to include following:
(a) the list of CSR projects or programmes that are approved to be undertaken;
(b) the manner of execution i.e. directly or indirectly through agency
(c) the modalities of utilisation of funds and implementation schedules;
(d) monitoring and reporting mechanism
(e) details of need and impact assessment, if any, for the projects undertaken by the company:
Board may alter such plan any time during the FY, as per recommendation of CSR Committee, based on reasonable justification.
In case of ongoing project*, the Board shall monitor its implementation with reference to the approved timelines and year-wise allocation and shall be competent to make modifications, if any, for smooth implementation of the project within the overall permissible time period.
Registration and Reporting:
Section 8 Co./Registered Society/ Registered Public Trust which intends to undertake CSR activities needs to register itself with Central Government by filing e-form CSR-1, w.e.f April 1, 2021 (Provided that the provisions of this rule shall not affect the CSR projects or programmes approved prior to April 1, 2021).
Upon filing, a unique CSR Registration number will be generated. This will be disclosed by Company in CSR Report.
New CSR Reporting format notified.
Any surplus arising out of the CSR activities shall not form part of the business profit of a company and shall be ploughed back into the same project or shall be transferred to the Unspent CSR Account and spent in pursuance of CSR policy and annual action plan of the company or transfer such surplus amount to a Fund specified in Schedule VII, within a period of 6 months of the expiry of the FY.
Subject to passing of Board Resolution, excess amount spent, excluding surplus arising, on CSR can be set-off against succeeding 3 FYs CSR spend.
Until a fund is specified in Schedule VII for the purposes of transfer of unspent CSR the amount, the same shall be transferred by the Company to any fund included in Schedule VII
The CSR amount may be spent by a company for creation or acquisition of a capital asset, which shall be held by:
(a) Section 8 Company or Registered Public Trust or Registered Society
(b) beneficiaries of the said CSR project, in the form of self-help groups, collectives, entities
(c) a public authority
Any capital asset created prior to April 1, 2021, shall comply with above within 180 days, further extended by 90 days with approval of Board, based on reasonable justification.
Every company having average CSR obligation of INR 10 Cr. or more in 3 immediately FYs shall undertake impact assessment, through an independent agency (which have been completed not less than 1 year before undertaking the impact study), of their CSR projects having outlays of Rs. 1 Crore or more. Report of assessment to be placed before the Board and shall form part of Annual CSR Report. Company may book 5% of total CSR expenditure or INR 50 lacs, whichever is less, as expenditure for this in the FY in which assessment is taken.
Display of CSR activities on website:
The Board of Directors of the Company shall mandatorily disclose the composition of the CSR Committee, and CSR Policy and Projects approved by the Board on their website, if any, for public access.