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Contribution to CM relief funds, paying wages during lockdown not part of CSR

It did, however, note that ex-gratia payments to temporary or casual workers specifically for “fighting COVID-19” may be counted as CSR expenditure as a one-time exemption.

By: ENS Economic Bureau | New Delhi | Updated: April 12, 2020 8:44:12 am
(Illustration: C R Sasikumar)

Contributions by companies to the chief minister’s disaster relief funds of various states and payment of salaries and wages to temporary workers will not count towards mandatory corporate social responsibility (CSR) expenditure, said a Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) release on Saturday.

It did, however, note that ex-gratia payments to temporary or casual workers specifically for “fighting COVID-19” may be counted as CSR expenditure as a one-time exemption. The release did, however, say that contributions made to state disaster management authorities to combat COVID-19 would qualify as CSR expenditure.

The move will likely channel a greater portion of corporate contributions to the PM-CARES Fund, which was set up for disaster relief after the virus outbreak. The MCA had earlier clarified that contributions to the PM-CARES Fund would count towards mandatory CSR expenditure by companies.

The release also clarified that payment of salaries and wages during the lockdown would not be counted as CSR expenditure. “… 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,” it noted.

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