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CSR diktat for corporate class

- Deputy commissioner holds maiden meeting, asks firms to submit financial details

Corporate honchos must take into confidence local panchayati raj institutions while executing corporate social responsibility (CSR) projects.

This piece of advice came from East Singhbhum deputy commissioner Amitabh Kaushal during the district’s maiden review meeting of CSR projects at the district collectorate on Friday.

Representatives of 18 corporate entities, including two public sector units, attended the meeting that was held following a directive from Rajendra Prasad Singh, minister-in-charge of East Singhbhum district planning committee, on November 6.

“The first such meeting to review CSR projects was held in the wake of a complaint by zilla parishad members that such activities were being carried out without proper need-based assessment,” said the district’s additional deputy commissioner Ganesh Kumar.

During the meeting it was found that most of the corporate entities, except Tata Steel, UCIL and HCL, were restricting their CSR activities to Jamshedpur and its outskirts. A majority of programmes was undertaken without taking into confidence grassroots bodies like gram sabhas and gram panchayats, resulting in resentment among the local residents.

The total amount spent by companies for CSR activities was pegged at Rs 15.32 crore, with Tata Steel alone contributing Rs 10 crore.

“The companies have been been asked to take up CSR projects in remote and inaccessible villages to boost development,” Kumar added.

The representatives were asked to come with financial statements and written details about CSR activities. “But none followed it. The deputy commissioner has asked them to submit the same within three days,” Kumar said.

According to the new Companies Act 2013, which is under process of finalisation by the Union corporate affairs ministry, profitable corporate entities will have to shell out at least 2 per cent of their three-year annual average net profit for CSR projects.

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