Amendment in CSR framework in India
(Xerxes Antia, Sheel Ghia & Pranay Desai)
Corporate Social Responsibility (“CSR”) framework in India has taken a step forward with the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (“MCA”) introducing an extensive format for reporting CSR.
The MCA vide its notification dated February 11, 2022, has amended the Companies (Accounts) Rules, 2014 thereby requiring every company qualifying under the CSR provisions (Section 135) of the Companies Act, 2013 (“Act”) to furnish a report on CSR to the Registrar of Companies (“ROC”) in eForm CSR-2.
The MCA notification and the format of the eForm CSR-2 can be accessed here.
Purpose: eForm CSR-2 broadly covers the same disclosures already expected from companies via the Companies (CSR Policy) Rules, 2014 (“CSR Rules”), which were required to be provided as an annexure to the directors’ report. However, this is an added reporting compliance on CSR for Indian companies.
The following additional details are required to be furnished in eForm CSR-2:
Details of unspent amount (if any) pertaining to FY 2014-15 to FY 2019-20 which has been spent in the financial year;
Bifurcation in the calculation of the CSR amounts;
Bifurcation of details of amount spent against
Ongoing CSR project, which was initiated in the previous financial year;
Ongoing CSR project, which was initiated in the current financial year (and may continue into the next financial year); and
Projects other than ongoing CSR project.
Time of filing:
For the financial year ending on March 31, 2022 (FY 2021-2022) and onwards: This form is required to be filed as an addendum to eForm AOC-4/ AOC-4 XBRL/ AOC -4 NBFC (Ind AS), as may be applicable (which is to be filed with 30 days of the date of the Annual General Meeting held for such financial year).
For the financial year ending on March 31, 2021: This form is required to be filed for the previous financial year (i.e., FY 2020-2021) which is to be filed separately on or before March 31, 2022. This is an immediate action item; however, the eForm is not yet available on the portal of MCA.
Impact: Prior to this amendment, the disclosures on CSR were only provided as an annexure to the directors’ report, which is attached to eForm AOC4 (or equivalent filings) as a scanned copy (a portable document format file). Therefore, this was causing difficulties for the MCA to track compliance, and levy penalties.
While this dual reporting on CSR will increase the compliance burden on companies but is meant to help the government track where the CSR amount is being spent and how it is being utilized, and levy penalties wherever there is a default. The objective behind this is to enhance the transparency and disclosures around CSR activities and provide better oversight.