New Delhi: It seems state-run companies are either sitting over-ambitious targets for corporate social responsibility (CSR) or it’s their financial compulsions that they end up spending less towards CSR.
Central public sector enterprises (CPSE) have significantly underutilized their CSR funds, with government data showing that nearly 43 percent of the funds allocated by these PSUs in the financial year 2018 remained unspent.
According to data furnished by the Ministry of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises, a total of 152 central public sector units (PSUs) spent only Rs 3,442.38 crore out of the allocated funds of Rs 6,024.81 for CSR in FY 2017-18, leaving rest of Rs 2,582.43 crore untouched.
On a year-on-year basis, the CSR funding by CPSEs increased by a mere 3.17 percent, although the funds allocated increased by 18.17 percent. In the financial year, 2016-17 PSUs spent Rs 3,336.50 crore, against the allocated amount of Rs 4,929.70 crore. Some of the major state-run companies did not utilize around 50 percent of their funds, or even more, with one of the major names being Oil and Natural Gas Corp Ltd (ONGC), which spent only around 25 percent of its allocated amount in 2017-18.
The data showed that ONGC spent Rs 503.44 crore on CSR during the year, out of the Rs 2,017.71 crore allocated by the company for the fiscal. However, with an expenditure of Rs 503.44 crore, the Maharatna company spent the most on CSR among the central PSUs.
Further, during the period under review, Power Finance Corporation (PFC) spent Rs 118.18 crore on CSR, only 47.38 percent of the total allocation of Rs 249.41 crore. Power Grid Corporation of India spent Rs 157.99 crore, 56 percent of its allocated fund of Rs 281.32 crore.
Similarly, Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL), which is currently making headlines over the government’s disinvestment plans, left 46.54 percent of its CSR funds unutilized in FY18. It spent Rs 166.02 crore, out of the total fund of Rs 310.56 crore.
On the other hand, Bharat Electronics left a staggering 64 percent of its Rs 68.20 crore fund unused. It spent Rs 24.60 crore only, on social responsibility in FY18. Electricals major BHEL (Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd), reported an actual expenditure of Rs 33.16 crore, out of the allocated amount of Rs 64.30 crore during the year. “It’s not that PSUs are unwilling to make their CSR spending, but often they are left with limited avenues to spend or have to wait for CSR projects to shape up,” said an executive of a Maharatna PSU.