BHUBANESWAR: Jindal Steel and Power Ltd (JSPL) has been conferred with the prestigious India CSR Community Initiative award for its programme for adolescents girls Health. The award winning case study was based on "Kishori Express: An innovative initiative to control IMR/MMR and promote safe motherhood in rural areas of Odisha's Angul district through timely detection and control of female adolescent anaemia," a company release said. So far, it has tested and educated more than 21000 adolescent girls of Angul district, it said.
Head of CSR&R department of JSPL's Angul unit, Suresh Kumar Sharma received the award from Bhaskar Chatterjee, Director General & CEO, Indian Institute of Corporate Affairs during the Annual India CSR Awards Ceremony held at New Delhi on April 6, 2015, it said. On receiving such recognition, Angul location Head and Executive Director of JSPL, Dinesh Kumar Saraogi, said "the awards acknowledge the contributions in CSR domain that are raising benchmarks by bringing a radical and transformation in the development arena through innovation and excellence. We are extremely happy on receiving such a great honour and hope this will definitely boost the morale of our employees." JSPL's CSR programme is Kishori Express - an adolescent anaemia control drive on wheels for timely detection and rectification of anaemia among adolescent girls for enabling them to attain safe motherhood in future. The Van is equipped with HB testing facility, inbuilt touch screen audio-visual awareness building quiz system and nutrition kit supplement facility. It covers 321 villages encompassing two revenue blocks of Angul District.
New Delhi, 7th April 2015 It is with pleasure that Global Compact Network India (GCNI) announces joining of ‘Indian Center for Corporate Social Responsibility’ (ICCSR) as its Annual NGO Member w.e.f 18th October 2014.
India Inc, which now has to spend on corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities, may have to bear a heavier tax burden, unless the expenditure is covered by specific provisions of the Income Tax (I-T) Act. The Finance Bill has clarified that such spend will not be treated as business expenditure. If it were treated as business expenditure, it would have directly reduced the taxable profits of the concerned company. However, tax benefits could be available for certain CSR activities under other sections of the I-T Act. "If the CSR expenditure is covered by the specific sections (Section 30 to 36) of the I-T Act, repairs, depreciation, expenditure on a wide variety of notified projects including skill development projects, would be allowed under those sections. Accordingly, if the company constructs a vocational training centre as a CSR project, then repairs, depreciation (at 10%) insurance, or interest on borrowings taken to construct such building will now be expressly allowed as deduction," says Punit Shah, co-head of tax, KPMG. India Inc will, however, face challenges as projects do not get notified on a timely basis. Some notified projects would provide a higher tax benefit.
India Inc may also find that making a donation is a hassle-free eligible activity. "The latest draft of DTC issued in April 2014 had said CSR is an appropriation of the profits of a company and, hence, not an allowable deduction. These fears have come true. It would be interesting to see whether this will propel corporates to contribute to notified charitable institutions and claim 50% deduction under section 80-G," says Sudhir Kapadia, National Tax Leader, EY. Under section 80-G of the I-T Act, the donation is deductible from the taxable income, either in full or to the extent of 50% of the amount.
Environment Minister says case-by-case consideration of defence projects delayed clearances. Mr. Prakash Javadekar on 12 June 2014 said the government will evolve “policy-based solutions” for the pending environment clearances, adding, the defence projects clearance delays has been due to their case-by-case consideration. “We are evolving new ways of solutions to the existing problems of environment clearances by evolving policy based solutions,” Mr. Javadekar told reporters here. “Delay in the defence projects were due to case-by-case decision making process. We will put policies in place and make policy based decisions,” he said. The Environment Minister said giving clearance to defence projects will be the priority for his Ministry. Mr. Javadekar said he will meet the defence secretary and discuss the pending projects. As the environmentalists were concerned over the clearance to proposed radar station in Narcondam island of Andaman and Nicobar, the Minister said environment protection will be kept in mind while framing the policies.
“In Narcondam and other areas, we will ensure complete protection of nature, including of hornbills. We won’t compromise on environment protection,” Mr. Javadekar said. He also said forest clearances along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), the working boundary line between India and China, will be given by the concerned state government. “The 100-km area within the LAC is for defence purpose, but you need forest clearance... It will be brought under general approval mode (under State government) so that defence projects can be expedited and forests can also be conserved,” said Mr. Javadekar. The Minister said he will discuss the issue with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Defence Minister Arun Jaitley.
The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), a sought-after university for courses related to sustainable development, has forayed into distance learning recently. The university offers an intensive, multi-track, online programme in renewable energy. A two-year advanced postgraduate diploma, and a one-year postgraduate diploma in renewable energy are on offer. Both these programmes have been approved by the Distance Education Council. Each of these programmes have been split into four certificate courses: CEIE (certificate course in energy infrastructure and efficiencies), CRERP (certificate course in renewable energy resources and policies), CRE (certificate course in renewable energy) and CSTEA (certificate course in software tools for energy analysis) Rajiv Seth, registrar at the university, says, “A student can opt to take just one certificate course or any combination of two to earn a PG diploma, or can do all four to earn the advanced PG diploma in renewable energy. The courses have been designed to provide the students a comprehensive knowledge of different aspects of various renewable energies, in addition to energy efficiency and energy conservation.” The fee for each certificate course is Rs. 20,000, while it is Rs. 35,000 for the postgraduate diploma andRs. 70,000 for the advanced postgraduate diploma. The last date for application is June 30, 2014. Candidates can apply online at the university website www.teriuniversity.ac.in or download the application form from the website and apply in hard copy.
Seth adds that the courses and programmes in renewable energy have been launched with support from the UK-India Education and Research Initiative (UKIERI) and in collaboration with the Open University, UK. A certificate/diploma programme in sustainable development practices was launched under the aegis of ProSPER.Net (a collaborative network of universities in the Asia-Pacific) supported by the Ministry of Environment, Government of Japan, he says. “The University has been tasked, under the National Mission on Education through Information and Communication Technology (of the Ministry of Human Resources and Development, Government of India), to develop e-content for post-graduate courses in environmental science. This aims at development of e-content for university education at the postgraduate level in environmental science courses such as environmental pollution and control, water and waste-water treatment, air quality management, integrated impact assessment and environmental economics. This project addresses the key objective of the MHRD’s National Mission to provide accessible, high quality, course material at the postgraduate level in all subjects at affordable costs with technology-enabled access that will not be limited by geographic constraints,” Seth adds. He, however, believes that distance education has its own set of challenges, especially when it comes to monitoring and evaluating students. “Monitoring and evaluating student performance is still a major challenge. So far, the TERI University has built-in a one week face-to-face session, where the evaluation was done. However, it is now switching over to online evaluation, which will be done at various earmarked centres,” he adds.
Mumbai: Slum-redevelopment, road safety awareness and consumer protection services will be treated as Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities, according to clarifications issued by the ministry of corporate affairs in response to queries from stakeholders. BJP's election manifesto had promised to usher in a low-cost housing policy that would ensure every family in India a home by 2022. The ministry, in a circular, has clarified that slum-redevelopment or housing for economically weaker sections could be covered under the eligible CSR category of 'measures taken for reducing inequalities faced by socially and economically backward groups'. Activities relating to road safety promotion, which is a dire need in India, are also likely to get a major fillip as the ministry has clarified these would also be treated as eligible CSR activities. Promoting road safety awareness through print, audio and visual media would qualify as a CSR activity under the broad head of 'promoting education'; providing trainers to drivers would fall under 'promoting vocational skills'; and social projects like giving medical and legal aid, treatment to road accident victims would fall under the eligible category of 'promoting health care', explains the circular. Any project meant for development of rural India will be treated as a 'rural development' project and will be an eligible CSR activity. Likewise, supplementing government schemes like mid-day meals would also qualify as CSR for alleviation of poverty and malnutrition. Renewable energy projects would be eligible for promoting 'environmental sustainability'. Responding to a query from the Consumer Education and Research Centre, the ministry has clarified that consumer education and awareness related activities would also be eligible as CSR towards 'promoting education'. Likewise, donations to IIM (A) for renovation of classrooms would be an eligible CSR activity to promote education. While the ministry has provided various illustrative clarifications, it has also stressed that the 10 categories of eligible activities outlined in Schedule VII of the Companies Act, 2014 'must be interpreted liberally'. Activities outlined in this schedule are wide ranging and include those relating to promoting education, promoting preventive healthcare, rural development and even protection of national heritage, art and culture.
Salaries paid by companies to regular CSR staff and volunteers can also be factored into the project cost as part of the CSR expenditure. However, one-off events undertaken by India Inc, such as sponsoring marathons, awards, sponsorship of TV programmes, will not qualify as eligible CSR activities. Expenses incurred by India Inc for fulfilment of any regulations such as Labour Laws and Land Acquisition Act also would not count as CSR expenditure, adds the circular. Even sustainable urban development and urban public transport system are not eligible CSR activities. Experts point out that India Inc should proceed with caution. "The final rules to the Companies Act are clear that CSR activities do not include normal business activities. Thus, even if slum redevelopment qualifies as a CSR activity, a grey area would crop up, if a slum area is taken up for construction of villas and these slum dwellers are rehabilitated by the builder." The CSR provisions contained in The Companies Act, 2014, requiring large companies meeting certain financial criteria to either comply with the CSR spend or report non-compliance kicked in from April 1. These companies are required to spend 2% of their average net profit of the last three years on CSR activities. Fillip to trusts, societies Expenditure incurred by a foreign holding company for CSR activities in India, if routed through its Indian subsidiary, will qualify as CSR spend of the Indian subsidiary. In addition, while the Rules to the Companies Act, 2014 had permitted India Inc to carry out CSR activities through a trust, registered society or non profit company, the circular goes a step ahead. Contribution by India Inc towards the corpus of such a trust, society or towards the capital of the not-for-profit company will also qualify as CSR spend. The conditions prescribed are that these entities should be created exclusively for carrying out CSR activities or the corpus should be created exclusively for carrying out eligible CSR activities.
Providing more clarity on social welfare spending norms for corporates, the government has said that "one off events" such as marathons and sponsorships of television programmes would not considered towards CSR expense. Under the new Companies Act, certain class of profitable entities are required to shell out at least two per cent of their three-year annual average net profit towards Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities. Asking stakeholders to "liberally" interpret the provisions in Schedule VII (Companies Act) — that relates to CSR works — the government has said that CSR activities should be undertaken only in "project/programme" mode.
Sahara group, whose legal battle with Sebi continues in Supreme Court over refund of over Rs 20,000 crore to investors, has made a surprise announcement of plans being afoot to hire over 56,000 new employees this year along with investments to the tune of nearly Rs 32,400 crore. In three-page newspaper advertisements, the group has invited applications for senior positions across business verticals within and outside country and said that these more than 56,000 new jobs need to be filled by the end of 2014. At the same time, it has also claimed that the group, which calls itself Sahara India Parivar, is "committed to creating four lakh salaried positions in next three years".
Vienna (csr-partners) – CSR Company International takes the lead in implementing MARKS & SPENCER’s Sustainability Management Framework Project. ISO 26000 is their tool of choice to achieve the goals for sustainable supply chain management as set in Plan A. Nine of the biggest clothing suppliers for Marks & Spencer in India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh will be enabled to integrate social and environmental sustainability into their business strategy by integrating the ISO 26000 Standard for Social Responsibility of Organisations. This will include gap analysis, action plan and verification for the participating companies. Marks & Spencer has launched the Sustainability Management Framework (SMF) Project in Mid-November, 2013. The internationally operating retail company with headquarter in Great Britain, regards human development and the achievement of human potential as a required economic activity to achieve environmental and social sustainability for present and future generations. This is part of the highly acclaimed “Plan A” strategy by Marks &Spencer which now CSR Company International is supporting in its implementation. Martin Neureiter, President of the CSR Company International has kick-started a round table session for CEOs and directors of participating suppliers to introduce them to the ISO 26000 business case. Mr. Neureiter was chairman and head of the international working group – Task Group Implementation – of ISO for creating the ISO 26000 standard. He was in this position up to the official launch of the standard in 2010 and is now part of the ISO Post-Publication Group. The Kick-off-Event took place in New Delhi and reached from capacity building of Marks & Spencer and its suppliers for the implementation of ISO 26000 to establishing a framework to monitor sustainability performance.
The “Sustainability Management Framework “ (SMF) Project based on ISO 26000 is the first of its kind worldwide and a great chance for the standard to prove what it can do regarding sustainable development. The project will be completed by June 2015. Marks &Spencer and their participating suppliers are aiming towards aligning sustainability into their operations by understanding, tracking and managing environmental and social impacts across their business, while at the same time gaining recognition by stakeholders for their pioneering vision. All of this is intended to support achieving the ambitious goals of Plan A. The CSR Company International, supporting clients worldwide in embedding the principles of CSR into their core strategies, policies, programs and actions, is appointed to take the lead in Marks & Spencer’s SMF Project. Their team of experts will closely cooperate with CII ITC India, Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Development, a partner greatly experienced in sustaining businesses growth, by partnering business and government alike, and the India office of globally operating assurance provider Ernst & Young. Mr. Neureiter is all positive about the developments: “The SMF Project is a milestone in supply chain management using ISO 26000 as tool to ensure Marks & Spencer can keep up its commitments made in Plan A. What more can you ask for, taking into account how young ISO 26000 still is.” CSR Company International is one of the world’s leading CSR consultancies with partner offices in 26 countries worldwide as well as representative offices in 17 additional countries in Europe, Middle East,Asia and Africa. The CSR Company is specializing entirely on Strategic CSR, Business Ethics, Sustainability, Stakeholder Engagement and CSR Communication. Founded in 2004 their team consults businesses as well as governmental and academic institutions worldwide in matters of social responsibility and takes great pride to partner with Marks & Spencer in the SMF Project.
The Union government is looking at a proposal to float a company to managecorporate social responsibility (CSR) funds of all central public sector enterprises, to ensure efficient implementation of this social initiative and to free companies from additional responsibility. The ministry of heavy industries and public enterprises is working on a proposal to set up a company under Section 25 on the ground that an independent entity will have the scale and resources to plan and execute CSR and sustainability activities, a ministry official said. "It (the proposal) is still in the works. We have sought some clarity from the ministry of corporate affairs," the person said. Under the new Companies Act, 2013, corporates must spend 2% of their profit on CSR from next fiscal year, provided they have a turnover of Rs 1,000 crore and more, or net worth of Rs 500 crore and more, or a net profit of Rs 5 crore and more.
Sahara India Pariwar, a major business conglomerate of India, today flagged off VEDAS, its 1000 village full adoption programme. VEDAS project was flagged by ‘Saharasri’ Subrata Roy Sahara, Managing Worker and Chairman, Sahara India Pariwar today, along with launching of project in 172 villages at districts Kannauj in Uttar Pradesh and district Araria in Bihar. Under VEDAS, Sahara is fully adopting 1000 villages for holistic and sustainable overall development. The project aims to cover 4.5 lakh rural households, touching the lives of 25 lakh people of 7 States. Under VEDAS, Sahara will undertake numerous initiatives which include providing Safe Drinking Waterthrough Water Purification Plants and distributing it through Water ATMs, imparting Joyful Educationthrough more than 500 Education Resource Centers with smart interactive classrooms equipped with high end Q Cloud technology. Free Primary Health Care will be provided to all villages on regular basis through fleets of Mobile Health Unit (MHU) vans. This will be augmented with Medical Center for serious cases at Central Point Village, with each center catering to a cluster of around 50 villages within its immediate vicinity. To empower people of the villages, Sahara is setting up Empowerment Centers at each Center Point Village. The centers will impart training and will have workplace equipped with food & beverages processing units, machines for traditional Household goods manufacturing, facility to make local craft products and products based on local resources.
Besides, it will help all small and big farmersincrease their land yield through its teams of highly qualified agriculturists. For all round sanitation, community awareness and advocacy program will be initiated and community toilets will be renovated. Sahara will also provide assistance in safe migration to people going to big cities for opportunities. Under VEDAS, Solar Powered Lanterns will be distributed to 4.5 lakh families of these villages, so that they have a healthy and eco-friendly source of lighting. On this occasion, Mr. Subrata Roy Sahara, Managing Worker and Chairman, Sahara India Pariwarsaid, “It is our dream that all our countrymen can get quality living. Even being the bread basket of the nation, our villages have always reeled behind in this walk of development. Only collective growth can make our beloved nation into a powerful nation and this requires sharing with and caring of our left out fellow brethrens. VEDAS is our humble initiative to fully adopt villages so that a substantial and sustainable rise in the quality of the life and livelihood of our rural brethrens can be achieved. Initially, we are taking 1000 villages across India and we intend to take this project to more villages in times to come”.
Coal India, the world's biggest coal miner, has decided to raise a new cadre of officers who will oversee the company'scorporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives. Top executives at the state-run miner told ET that its board had at its last meeting cleared the proposal to recruit about 120 officers in the CSR cadre this year. This is the first time that such a large team is being organised for CSR activities in any private or public sector company in India. Most public sector companies source officers from other departments and depute them on ad-hoc basis at CSR units. The CSR teams are also not so big, For example, the CSR team at Indian Oil Corporation has about 20 people. "The sheer size of Coal India's fund for CSR and the area over which it has to be spread requires dedicated officials, who would oversee the quality of the projects being undertaken and the funds being spent for the job," said a senior Coal India executive. Coal India and its eight subsidiaries will be spending around Rs300 crore in 2014-15 on CSR activities. This could be spread over the company's 85 mining regions. The new companies law makes it mandatory for companies of a certain financial strength to spend at least 2 per cent of their average net profit over three years on CSR. Until now, Coal India was not taking up CSR projects on its own. It had restricted its involvement mainly to funding non-government organisations, whose CSR projects were approved by the Coal India board.
"CIL's CSR projects always runs into crores. For example, we have lined up a project in Purulia, where 40 villages will be adopted by CIL and projects like sanitation, medical benefits, infrastructure will be provided at a cost of Rs 29 crore. We are also setting up an IIIT with the West Bengal government," the executive quoted earlier said. But Coal India wanted to develop its own CSR team, he said. "This has been our demand for some time now. We wanted a dedicated team of officials with education background and experience in community development, so that we could take up CSR activities effectively," he said. The executive said the officers being recruited will be posted in each of the mining areas of Coal India and they will oversee the projects being undertaken by the NGOs. The move to raise a CSR cadre comes after the government pulled up the company for not spending its CSR funds effectively in 2011-12. The company had managed to spend only about 15 per cent of the funds earmarked for CSR during the year. In a report, the Kalyan Banerjeeled standing committee on coal and steel had said that out of an allotment of Rs554 crore for the year, Coal India could spend only Rs82 crore, terming it a "gross failure". The committee said although the coal ministry replied that they have intentions to spend the money for CSR activities, in reality, it seems that they do not have a serious intention to spend it. The government has also pointed out that the officers-in-charge of spending money on CSR activities must be made accountable for the failure to spend the CSR budget.