The tool of Corporate Social Responsibility (hereafter referred to as ‘CSR’) has been introduced under the Companies Act, 2013 (hereafter referred to as ‘CA13’), effective from April 1, 2014, to address the social obligations of the corporate world. The objective of CSR is a noble one and necessary for a robust and sustainable development. The general reaction of the corporate industry towards the reform has been positive. Various companies have undertaken extensive projects addressing the socio-economic problems, facing the society at large. In light of the reform, the present paper endeavours to provide a detailed analysis of CSR regime in India.

Framework of the Corporate Social Responsibility Under the Companies Act, 2013.

The vehicle of CSR has been driven into CA13 in order to bridge the gap of inequality and fulfil various social obligations that require certain amount of capital and other resources. CSR is basically an obligation towards the nation at large, which attempts to preclude confinement of the fruits of benefits to certain consumers or shareholders. It is a legal responsibility that casts upon a corporate body to address the umpteen number of socio-economic-environment concerns plaguing the country.

Although proper implementation of CSR will definitely add to the grandeur of the nation, detractors have questioned the need of such obligations in a nation such as India where generally all the policies of the government focus on striving socio-economic equality and development. The reason for imposing such obligations appears to be twofold, firstly, that the protracted problems of socio-economic equality and environmental concerns have proved to be chronic and secondly, the past endeavours demonstrate clearly that a greater extent of participation is needed for reaching the roots of such problems. Bringing the corporate world into the fold of socio-economic obligations would prove to be beneficial for the masses as well as the corporate world.

What is Corporate Social Responsibility?

The CSR has been defined in CA13 as projects or programs relating to activities specified in Schedule VII of CA13; or projects or programs relating to activities undertaken by the board of directors of a company in pursuance of recommendations of the CSR Committee of the Board as per declared CSR policy of the company subject to the condition that such policy will cover subjects enumerated in Schedule VII of CA13.

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[1] However, the definition is not an exhaustive one and has to be given widest possible meaning since the concept of CSR is an enabling one and based on socio-economic considerations.[1] Companies (Corporate Social Responsibility Policy) Rules, 2014, Rule 2(c).