Channelizing CSR to Battle COVID-19: Initiatives by Invest India
On 23 March 2020, the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) said that the funds spent on COVID-19 management would be treated as eligible CSR activity. “Keeping in view of the spread of novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) in India, its declaration as a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO), and the decision of Government of India to treat this as a notified disaster. It is hereby clarified that spending of CSR funds for COVID-19 is eligible CSR activity”, the MCA order said. Companies’ CSR funds can now be used towards promoting preventive care healthcare infrastructure and disaster management. This order has been treated as a welcoming step by many who believe this will help the government and industry to join forces and alleviate the distressing impact of the virus outbreak.
To help align public and private sector efforts to combat the health crisis, Invest India has consolidated a list of 32 State and National Relief Funds, along with contact details of respective nodal departments. All contributions made to relief funds shall assist State Governments for creation/upgradation of health infrastructure and other logistics, research and development of newer methods and techniques, as well as transportation and rehabilitation for people affected by and coping with the emergency.
Recently, the government had also expanded the scope of CSR with a view to spur the Research & Development (R&D) and innovation ecosystem in the country. The Schedule VII of the Companies Act now recognises any contribution to incubators funded by Central or State Government or any Government agency as falling within the ambit of CSR.
Recognizing the paramount importance of technological intervention to fight the pandemic, our team has also collated a repository of innovations that can help in testing, curing and prevention of COVID-19. This list has been prepared by sourcing innovations from technology incubators across the country, spanning various government programs such as the Atal Innovation Mission, Department of Science and Department of Biotechnology, as well as premier academic institutions such as the Indian Institutes of Technology and Indian Institute of Science, amongst others. Our team shall assist any corporates who are willing to pitch in with CSR funds to help support these technologies to combat COVID-19 for the great good of the community.
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