A report by the ministry of corporate affairs (MCA) has revealed that more than Rs 28,000 crore was spent by companies toward CSR from 1 April 2014 to 30 November 2017. More than 70 per cent of this was contributed by the private sector – perhaps an indication of the state of our public sector that’s bleeding profits.

Out of the total amount of Rs 28,111.63 crore, Rs 4,719 crore was spent till 30 November 2017 – the number is slated to go up as more companies submit their final CSR tallies at the end of the current financial year. In FY 2015, 5,870 companies invested Rs 9,564.77 crore in their CSR, while the next financial year saw this increase to Rs 13,827.86 crore, spread across 7,983 companies. Unsurprisingly, health and sanitation, eradicating hunger and poverty, education, rural development, and women empowerment were some of the favourite causes for these corporates. The North East accounted for approximately 1.3 per cent of the overall CSR spend for FY 2016. Something is better than nothing, right?

Earlier this year, MCA informed the Rajya Sabha that action was to be initiated against 196 companies for violating CSR norms, specifically the ‘2 per cent of profits’ rule, in FY 2015 (about time indeed). A number of companies flouted this law spectacularly, failing to spend any amount for CSR – the figures were 8,924 and 10,547 for 2014–15 and 2015–16 respectively. This raises serious questions about the commitment of corporate India towards CSR and the efficacy of government action against violators. Both need to urgently pull up their socks.