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National CSR Data Portal and Corporate Data Portal launched by India's Ministry of Corporate Affairs

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.

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