Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has been mandated by the Indian government for companies having a net worth of rupees five hundred crore or more, or a turnover of rupees one thousand crore or more, or a net profit of rupees five crore or more. Under the Companies Act, 2013, these companies are required to spend a minimum of 2% of their net profits across three years on corporate donations to charity . To meet these criteria, corporates are required to meet goals in given areas of work be it health, education, rural development or more.
Before this regulation, social impact activities were left up to the organization’s discretion on whether they would like to contribute, however it was an expectation by society at large, that they contribute to ecosystems they’re a part of, in some form or the other. The regulation has mandated all companies to contribute to society. It has motivated organisations to mobilise resources as well as assign dedicated team members for ensuring the CSR activities are run in set timelines and deliver necessary impact.
Not only this, the specification of areas for the said contribution is helping the government reach its development goals faster. At the same time, it is incentivizing corporates to calculate the impact of their CSR activities, thus giving a fair picture for the country/region’s impact as well.
Indian health space has benefitted greatly by corporate donations to charity as it is one of the three key pillars given by the government. Also, the global health crisis post-COVID 19 has showcased several gaps in healthcare and brought it up as a priority agenda for governments and citizens. This added attention has brought an opportunity to develop the health sector at godspeed as well as highlight myriad health conditions, not given importance so far. Funds raised through corporate charity donations have helped bring new innovations in healthcare tech, investments for these inventions, enhanced critical care infrastructure, and also increased mental health and counselling support for caregivers.
Companies now focus significantly on healthcare. Our study of India’s top companies for sustainability and CSR shows that the top 200 companies spend around Rs 1369 crores on healthcare and wellness. About 24% of the total spend of corporate charity donations is focused on healthcare.
The deployment of money and intent is heartening and much needed. An added bonus from all the CSR vigour is also awareness among employees and opportunities for them to volunteer for the causes.
Healthcare in India, remains one of the key development challenges, and it requires collaboration among government, civil society and corporations to address the root issues. CSR has given impetus to these initiatives, and such collaboration. These intentional efforts are welcome drops in the ocean and will help pave the way for world class healthcare infrastructure in India.
Like Howard Zinn said, “Small acts when multiplied by millions of people, can change the world.”