India Inc spent Rs 1,600 cr on Covid-19 relief during March-May 2021

By: |
September 14, 2021 2:30 AM

The study revealed that Indian companies launched more than 750 CSR initiatives in response to the second wave with 35% of these interventions implemented in Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh.

In March 2020, the ministry of corporate affairs (MCA) clarified that CSR funds may be spent by the companies for various activities related to Covid. ( Representative image)

As the second and more virulent wave of Covid-19 infections gripped the country, India Inc responded to the challenge with over 350 public-listed companies spending more than Rs 1,600 crore on corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives between March and May this year to check the deadly pandemic, CSRBOX said on Monday.

The study revealed that Indian companies launched more than 750 CSR initiatives in response to the second wave with 35% of these interventions implemented in Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh.

Around 57% of the CSR initiatives were targeted at Covid-infected people. However, the report pointed out that there was a lack of initiatives focusing on relief for migrants, disabled, homeless and urban slum communities. Over 400 corporate CSR initiatives to combat the second wave were aimed at procuring medical supplies, ventilators and safety gear like PPE kits, it added.

The report by CSRBOX, which is an analytics platform and directory of CSR projects, company profiles, social businesses, CSR implementing agencies and service providers in India, covers Covid 2.0 responses of 350 large firms in India between March and May 2021. Of these, 75% are BSE/NSE-listed, 20% are private companies and 5% are PSUs.

Corporate India provided more than 200 oxygen plants, 75 makeshift hospitals and Covid wards with over 10,000 beds, 3,500 ventilators and 140,000 oxygen concentrators. Around 33 companies contributed more than Rs 150 crore to conduct community awareness activities across 17 states.

According to the report, the industries that were the front runners with a maximum number of initiatives included computer/ software/ IT, power & heavy engineering, oil, drilling lubricants, petrochemicals, cement and auto industries. The majority of the initiatives are from corporates having headquarter in Maharashtra and one-third of these are directed towards the home region.

“Corporates have responded to Covid with great urgency and remarkable flexibility, fast-tracking CSR project approvals for the timely procurement of essential medical supplies, working in tandem with central, state governments and local agencies,” said Bhomik Shah, founder & CEO, CSRBOK.

The government had brought amendments to the Companies Act in a bid to divert CSR expenditure on Covid relief. In March 2020, the ministry of corporate affairs (MCA) clarified that CSR funds may be spent by the companies for various activities related to Covid.

In April-May 2021, the MCA again clarified that spending CSR funds for setting up makeshift hospitals & temporary Covid care facilities as well as creating health infrastructure for Covid-19 care, the establishment of medical oxygen generation & storage plants, manufacturing and supply of oxygen concentrators, ventilators, cylinders, etc are eligible CSR activities.

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