Maharashtra has been the biggest beneficiary of corporate social responsibility(CSR) projects by listed firms in financial year 2016-17, according to provisional data released by the government. This, despite the fact that the state has seen CSR spending by listed firms drop by 61 per cent from Rs 1,810 crore in 2015-16. According to government data, 6,286 listed companies spent Rs 4,719 crore towards various CSR activities in 2016-17 across the country. The total number of such projects taken up stood at 11,597. The CSR spending of listed firms in 2016-17 has plunged by 65 per cent from a year ago.
The data shows, that in Maharashtra alone, 1,869 listed firms have spent Rs 702.36 crore through CSR projects. Delhi saw 656 listed companies spend Rs 230 crore in the same period, while 165 firms spent Rs 213 crore through CSR projects in Madhya Pradesh. Karnataka and Tamil Nadu saw 687 and 662 firms, respectively spending Rs 203 crore in each of the two states.
In Maharashtra, most of the funds (Rs 230.19 crore) were spent on education or vocational skills while Rs172.37 crore were spent on healthcare, eradicating hunger, poverty and malnutrition. Companies also allocated funds towards rural development projects. The data shows that Mumbai received CSR funds of about Rs 142 crore in 2016-17, followed by Pune (Rs 97.28 crore), Aurangabad (Rs 28.21 crore), Thane (Rs18.28 crore) and Palghar (Rs 15.59 crore). The top three companies that have spent the most in Maharashtra include — Reliance Infrastructure Ltd (Rs 32.16 crore), Persistent Systems Ltd (Rs 27.31 crore) and Bajaj Allianz Life Insurance Company (Rs 16.90 crore). The new Companies Act mandate that firms with a net worth of Rs 500 crore or revenue of Rs 1,000 crore or net profit of Rs 5 crore should spend 2 per cent of their average profit in the last three years on social development-related activities.
Among the total firms that funded projects across India, HDFC Bank Ltd emerged as the top CSR spender with Rs 305.42 crore, followed by state-owned NTPC Ltd (Rs 277.81 crore) and ICICI Bank (Rs 182.37 crore). Other companies in the top 10 include Power Finance Corporation (Rs 168.11 crore), Mahanadi Coal Fields (Rs 166.61 crore), Power Grid Corporation (Rs 147.33 crore), HDFC Ltd (Rs 146.54 crore) and Axis Bank (Rs 135.41 crore).