National CSR Data Portal and Corporate Data Portal launched by India's Ministry of Corporate Affairs
On January 19, the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) of India launched two open data portals, the National Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Data Portal and Corporate Data Portal, to reduce the gap in the availability of information between companies and stakeholders.
The National CSR Data Portal will act as a one-stop platform for dissemination of information on CSR expenditure made by companies.
India is the first country in the world to mandate and quantify CSR expenditure for corporates meeting certain criteria. The Companies Act, 2013 requires every company having net worth of Rupees five billion or more (USD 78 million), or turnover of ten billion Rupees or more or a net profit of rupees fifty million or more during any financial year to constitute a CSR Committee of the Board and ensure that it spends in every financial year, at least two per cent of the average net profits of the company during the three immediately preceding financial years.
This new Portal will capture information on CSR activities carried out by eligible companies, filed on the MCA21 registry in their financial statements. The filed information provides a snap shot of CSR activities carried out by companies.
The CSR portal contains all the filed information, which can be used to generate pre-defined reports providing information on expenditure across states, districts, development sectors, etc. Registered users can provide feedback for projects through the portal. The Portal also provides for feedback on projects to be given by registered users. The open access to data is expected to help researchers, improve quality of data filed by companies, as well as involve intended beneficiaries in giving valuable feedback to companies.
The Corporate Data Portal aims to make all the financial and non-financial information of the companies available in a user-friendly format to the general public. This includes a range of data from annual financial statements to qualifications of Board members and information on independent directors.
The portal has the facility to generate pre-defined reports as well as customised for research and analysis (According to Livemint, Mr. Injeti Srinivas, Secretary, Corporate Affairs said that initially the data available on the Corporate Data Portal will be static but customisation will be available soon, for a small fee.)
The portals were launched by Mr. Arun Jaitley, Union Minister for Finance and Corporate Affairs. He said that the initiative is a significant step towards driving accountability and transparency for corporate India. Making this information easily accessible to general public is expected to ensure high level of compliance and institutionalise and consolidate CSR activities.
Mr. P. P. Chaudhary, Minister of State for Corporate Affairs and Law & Justice, said that both the portals reflect the government’s commitment towards leveraging technology towards smart governance. He suggested that CSR project should be geo-tagged and aimed at seeing the poorest of the poor.
Mr. Srinivas added that the dual launch had created a landmark in bringing about 100 percent transparency in corporate governance by making public over 40 million filings from nearly 1.2 million companies. He added that the two portals would promote corporate transparency and accountability to public at large and also facilitate social audit of CSR projects, besides bringing together CSR contributors, implementers and beneficiaries and aligning CSR activities with national development goals.