CSR – possible missing link for clean energy development taken off the table

The Amendment to the Companies Act 2013 is no longer mandatory

Ragpickers, Oklha landfill – waste to energy is one of the listed areas for CSR. Photo Credit: Sayantoni Palchoudhuri

Although CSR has been in place in India for some time, it was not done through mandatory legal mechanisms. In 2014, this changed. An amendment to the Companies Act (2013) created a provision for mandatory expenditure on CSR for any company registered and doing business in India with a net worth of INR 5 billion (592 MSEK) or net profit of INR 50 million (6MSEK). This definition resulted in over 8000 companies in India being brought into the CSR ring, and a budget of over INR 180 Billion (21 BSEK) made available for activities approved by the Government of India.

Lead by the Ministry of Finance under the Indian Institute of Corporate Affairs (IICA), 10 clear areas were put forward for CSR expenditure. This included investment in sustainable development, technology incubators, and clean energy development. It opened up an immense opportunity for companies looking to find much needed business capital in a risk adverse environment.

However, strong opposition has led to revoking the mandatory nature of the Amendment . Still, IICA believes that companies will continue to develop CSR strategies, because of the overall merit returned for such activities.