Rs 4k-cr CSR pie eludes Karnataka's backward districts

Rs 4k-cr CSR pie eludes Karnataka's backward districts

Karnataka received a whopping Rs 4,354 crore under Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) over a four-year period (2014-18). But a lot of this money came in and around Bengaluru, while philanthropists appear to have overlooked some of Karnataka’s most backward districts, according to a report. 

This was 9% of the total CSR spending in India in this period, according to the report brought out by Sattva Consulting that was released during the Karnataka CSR Summit held on Friday, jointly organised by Dhwani Foundation.

Since 2014, companies with at least Rs 5 crore net profit or Rs 1,000 crore turnover or Rs 500 crore net worth are mandated to spend at least 2% of their net profit on philanthropy for the uplift of society. 

Education, environmental sustainability and healthcare are sectors that received a majority of CSR funds. According to the report, during this four-year period, education initiatives received Rs 975 crore while environment interventions got Rs 515 crore, healthcare Rs 369 crore and rural development Rs 157 crore.

While the state received an encouraging amount of funds, a look into where the money was spent showed regional disparity. Much of the funds went to initiatives in Bengaluru Urban (5.81%) and Bengaluru Rural (21.19%) districts.

Some of the less-developed districts in Karnataka such as Yadgir and Davanagere saw no CSR activities. All the remaining districts, including the backward Chamarajanagar, Bidar, Koppal among others got less, anywhere between 0.01% and 2.89% of the total CSR funding in the state. Over Rs 2,700 crore of the funds were not tied to any specific district, according to the report. 

Vrunda Bansode, Head, India Data Insights, Sattva Consulting, told DH that such a disparity was seen as companies tend to stick to locations surrounding their area of operations.

“Usually companies are recommended to take up CSR around the area of their operation, which could be their head office, manufacturing unit or branch offices. Since we are an IT-heavy state, these companies do not have manufacturing units or branches. Hence, the focus around Bengaluru. Another challenge is that discovering NGOs involved in developmental activities in remote areas is difficult for companies based here,” she said. 

Among the corporates, IT giants Wipro and Infosys spent the most on CSR activities by investing Rs 596 crore and Rs 416 crore, respectively. They were followed by PSUs Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (Rs 103 crore) and Udupi Power Corporation Ltd (Rs 76 crore), the report stated.

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