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Regular-article-logo Monday, 20 May 2024

Call for CSR parity

Law mandates corporates to spend 2% of their net profits towards expenditure or activities that qualify as CSR

Our Special Correspondent Calcutta Published 16.04.20, 08:18 PM
Amit Mitra in Calcutta.

Amit Mitra in Calcutta. Telegraph file picture

Bengal finance minister Amit Mitra has reiterated the state’s demand to classify corporate contributions to the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund as an expense under corporate social responsibility.

Following up on the demand raised by Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee during the meeting of state chief ministers with Prime Minister Narendra Modi last Saturday, Mitra wrote to his counterpart in Delhi on Thursday seeking such an exemption.

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According to a general circular issued by the ministry of corporate affairs on April 10, a day before the meeting with PM Modi, contributions made to the PM CARES Fund would qualify as a CSR expenditure while that to state relief funds would not.

“I urge you to advise the ministry of corporate affairs to allow any contribution made to the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund or any dedicated fund set up exclusively for Covid-19 to qualify as admissible CSR expenditure for business,” Mitra said in his letter to Nirmala Sitharaman.

The state has set up the West Bengal State Emergency Relief Fund, under the overall umbrella of the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund, for the purpose of combating Covid-19.

Mitra said the fund has received good response. A circular on March 23 had stated funds to help fight Covid-19 would be eligible as CSR expense. However, the April circular left out state funds.

“As you will appreciate, this will severely jeopardise the state’s efforts to raise funds to fight this catastrophic crisis of such a gigantic scale and magnitude,” Mitra wrote.

Law mandates corporates to spend 2 per cent of their net profits towards expenditure or activities that qualify as CSR.

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