President Ram Nath Kovind (AP file)
President Ram Nath Kovind (AP file)

Prez asks businesses to do more for orphans, handicapped under CSR initiatives

  • 'Can we plan in such a way that within a foreseeable future, every orphan child can get personal care?'
  • 'We can set 2030 as a deadline to ensure providing care to every child and reap the benefits of demographic advantage?'

New Delhi: President Ram Nath Kovind on Tuesday urged businesses to focus on orphans in the country while planning their corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities. Kovind said while the government was doing what it can to give a helping hand to orphans, and the handicapped, the society, especially the corporate sector can still do more for them.

“Can we plan in such a way that within a foreseeable future, every orphan child can get personal care? We can set 2030 as a deadline to ensure providing care to every child and reap the benefits of demographic advantage that we have," the president said in his speech at an event organised by the government to give out the first national CSR awards to select companies for their outstanding contribution.

Kovind said he would leave his suggestion to businesses as food for thought and action.

Under law, companies with a net worth of 500 crore or more, or sales of 1,000 crore or more, or net profit of 5 crore or more, in a preceding financial year are required to spend 2% of their average net profit of the preceding three years on CSR. Such spending has gone up to 13,327 crore in FY18 from 10,066 crore in FY15, according to data provided by the ministry of corporate affairs.

This spending has complements the government’s welfare spending. One of the three categories of the CSR awards instituted was for work done in backward districts, the lifting of which is a policy priority for the government.

Finance and corporate affairs minister Nirmala Sitharaman, who was present on the occasion, said it was very encouraging to note that other than what is specified under the law, companies have identified causes for their CSR activities which are crucial for comprehensive development of India’s hinterland. “Of course, education and health seem to get priority, which is only right. I find a lot of companies giving preference to schemes that lay emphasis on education, skill training and health which brings in the dimension that government’s efforts alone cannot deliver on completely providing that kind of support system for education and health and therefore CSR activities in those areas make a lot of sense," said the minister.

As per data from the ministry, CSR spending between FY15 and FY18 has been the highest in education, health, fight against poverty and malnutrition, access to clean drinking water, livelihood and for the differently abled. From next year onwards, the CSR awards will be conferred on 2 October, the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.

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