Contribution to Chief Minister’s Relief Funds’ Not Eligible for CSR spent

After our last blog titled “CSR Funds can be used for fighting Covid 19“, We received Corporate-Social-Responsibilitymany queries from many Corporates seeking clarifications on the eligibility of CSR expenditure related to Covid 19 activities.

We also made a representation to the Ministry of Corporate Affairs and now the Ministry has issued a General Circular No. 15/2020, dated 10.04.2020. Its interesting to note that the contributions made to Chief Minister’s Relief Funds’ or ‘State Relief Fund for COVID-19’ will not qualify for CSR spent.

In this regard a set of FAQs and clarifications on the same has been issued by the MCA, is given below for the intimation of members.

 

MCA vide General Circular No. 15/2020 dated 10th April 2020 has issued and published COVID-19 related FAQs on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).

Major Update:

‘Chief Minister’s Relief Fund’ or ‘State Relief Fund for COVID-19’ is not included in Schedule VII of the Companies Act, 2013 and therefore any contribution to such funds shall not qualify as admissible CSR expenditure.

What Shall Qualify for CSR Expenditure:

  • Contribution to PM Cares Fund under item no (viii) of Schedule VII.
  • Contribution to State Disaster Management Authority under item no (xii) of Schedule VII.
  • Spending CSR funds for COVID-19 related activities under items nos. (i) and (xii) of Schedule VII relating to promotion of health care including preventive health care and sanitation, and disaster management.
  • Ex-gratia payment is made to temporary/casual workers/ daily wage workers over and above the disbursement of wages.

What shall not Qualify as CSR Expenditure

  • Contribution to Chief Minister’s Relief Funds’ or ‘State Relief Fund for COVID-19’.
  • Payment of salary/wages to employees and workers, including contract labour.
  • Payment of wages made to temporary/casual /daily wage workers.

Full text of the General Circular No. 15 /2020 dated 10th April 2020 is as follows:-

General Circular No. 15/2020

F. No. CSR-01/4/2020-CSR-MCA
Government of India
Ministry of Corporate Affairs

Dated: 10th April, 2020

COVID-19 related Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)

The Ministry has been receiving several references/ representations from various stakeholders seeking clarifications on eligibility of CSR expenditure related to COVID-19 activities. In this regard, a set of FAQs along with clarifications are provided below for better understanding of the stakeholders:

Sl. No.Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)Reply
1Whether contribution made to ‘PM CARES Fund’ shall qualify as CSR expenditure?Contribution made to ‘PM CARES Fund’ shall qualify as CSR expenditure under item no (viii) of Schedule VII of the Companies Act, 2013 and it has been further clarified vide Office memorandum F. No. CSR-05/1/2020-CSR-MCA dated 28th March, 2020.
2Whether contribution made to ‘Chief Minister’s Relief Funds’ or ‘State Relief Fund for COVID-19’ shall qualify as CSR expenditure? ‘Chief Minister’s Relief Fund’ or ‘State Relief Fund for COVID-19’ is not included in Schedule VII of the Companies Act, 2013 and therefore any contribution to such funds shall not qualify as admissible CSR expenditure.
3Whether contribution made to State Disaster Management Authority shall qualify as CSR expenditure?Contribution made to State Disaster Management Authority to combat COVID-19 shall qualify as CSR expenditure under item no (xii) of Schedule VII of the 2013 and clarified vide general circular No. 10/2020 dated 23rd March, 2020. 
4Whether spending of CSR funds for COVID-19 related activities shall qualify as CSR expenditure?Ministry vide general circular No. 10/2020 dated 23rd March, 2020 has clarified that spending CSR funds for COVID-19 related activities shall qualify as CSR expenditure. It is further clarified that funds may be spent for various activities related to COVID-19 under items nos. (i) and (xii) of Schedule VII relating to promotion of health care including preventive health care and sanitation, and disaster management. Further, as per general circular No. 21/2014 dated 18.06.2014, items in Schedule VII are broad based and may be interpreted liberally for this purpose.
5Whether payment of salary/wages to employees and workers, including contract labour, during the lockdown period can be adjusted against the CSR expenditure of the companies?Payment of salary/ wages in normal circumstances is a contractual and statutory obligation of the company. Similarly, payment of salary/ wages to employees and workers even during the lockdown period is a moral obligation of the employers, as they have no alternative source of employment or livelihood during this period. Thus, payment of salary/ wages to employees and workers during the lockdown period (including imposition of other social distancing requirements) shall not qualify as admissible CSR expenditure.
6Whether payment of wages made to casual /daily wage workers during the lockdown period can be adjusted against the CSR expenditure of the companies?Payment of wages to temporary or casual or daily wage workers during the lockdown period is part of the moral/ humanitarian/ contractual obligations of the company and is applicable to all companies irrespective of whether they have any legal obligation for CSR contribution under section 135 of the Companies Act 2013. Hence, payment of wages to temporary or casual or daily wage workers during the lockdown period shall not count towards CSR expenditure. 
7.Whether payment of exgratia to temporary /casual /daily wage workers shall qualify as CSR expenditure?If any ex-gratia payment is made to temporary / casual workers/ daily wage workers over and above the disbursement of wages, specifically for the purpose of fighting COVID 19, the same shall be admissible towards CSR expenditure as a onetime exception provided there is an explicit declaration to that effect by the Board of the company, which is duly certified by the statutory auditor.

This issues with the approval of competent authority.

If you are an NGO wanting to re-align your objectives to be able to receive CSR donations, We can help you. 

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