Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is mandatory in India by law, under the Companies Act 2013. The Act has brought so many companies under CSR scrutiny, making CSR expenditure more streamlined and formal. As the CSR sector becomes more effective, it is imperative to observe its role in national development and identify areas that need more attention in order to guide companies with the resources and expertise. relevant towards the same.
In a bid to provide the same to companies and help implementing agencies to effectively manage their CSR projects, the Government of India launched the National CSR Exchange Portal on June 7, 2022, as part of the celebration of Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav.
What is the national CSR exchange portal?
The National CSR Exchange Portal is a digital CSR initiative that will allow stakeholders to list, search, interact, engage and manage their CSR projects on a voluntary basis, according to an official statement. The national CSR exchange portal will serve as an electronic marketplace hosting PAN India’s social welfare projects where stakeholders such as implementing agencies can set up its ongoing projects and companies can select projects for CSR spending according to their preferences and vice versa.
According to the website, the exchange portal was developed based on the recommendations of the 2018 High Level Committee on Corporate Social Responsibility. An advisory and technical committee was formed for the development of the portal. The committee was represented by different CSR stakeholders – CSR practitioners, technical experts and civil society organizations. The Committee was made aware of the BSE Sammaan, an initiative of the MCA think tank: Indian Institute of Commercial Affairs, Confederation of Indian Industry and Bombay Stock Exchange, which offered similar functionality to that envisioned for the exchange portal national on CSR.
Why the national CSR exchange portal?
Social development is not the main expertise of most companies, most companies choose an implementation agency for the execution of projects. Identifying appropriate Implementing Agencies (IAs) is one of the recurring issues companies face in carrying out their CSR activities. This exchange portal will help companies identify the appropriate implementing agencies for the successful implementation of their CSR projects by reducing their transaction costs.
According to the website, the national CSR exchange portal also helps to overcome a common challenge cited by companies for not having fulfilled their CSR obligations “inability to find suitable projects” based on their CSR policy. The CSR Exchange Portal solves this problem by providing a platform to view projects offered by various Implementing Agencies (IAs). It will allow them to list their CSR projects to raise funds from companies.
In addition to this, there are a large number of non-governmental agencies (NGOs) seeking funds for their projects that could fall within the area of CSR. The National CSR Exchange Portal will help connect businesses and implementing agencies to work towards the betterment of the country.
Union Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has announced the Ministry of Corporate Affairs’ “Iconic Day” celebrations on Tuesday, June 7.
FM Sitharaman, who is in charge of the Ministries of Finance and Corporate Affairs, as well as Minister of State for Corporate Affairs Rao Inderjit Singh and senior officials, among others, graced the event.
A commemorative investor awareness postage stamp was issued on this occasion. In addition, a short film “Journey of Corporate Governance in India: A Panorama”, a film on the investor oath, an e-book “Compendium on CSR” and a publication on IBC (Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code) were released.