Corporate houses told to spend CSR funds for disabled welfare

Union minister Krishan Pal Gurjar unhappy over CSR spending that falls short of law mandated 2%

GN Bureau | October 1, 2015


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Photo: Arun Kumar

Union minister of state for social justice and empowerment Krishan Pal Gurjar said that nearly Rs 18,000 crore is available under corporate social responsibility (CSR) provision of the companies Act but “not even one percent is being spent by the corporates.”

Gurjar said that there are talks of increasing the percentage; the Maharashtra government has planned to take this up with the industry. “In my opinion, we should first focus on spending the 2 percent,” he said, while speaking at 'CSR for inclusive development' conference organised by Governance Now on Wednesday.

It is important to ascertain the reasons and challenges behind the inability of the corporates to spend the CSR fund, he said. The minister suggested that the fund could be used for prime minister's ambitious smart cities mission. “It could be used for cleanliness, strengthening the drainage, sewage systems and better city management,” he said.

The minister urged the corporates to spend CSR fund for the betterment of disabled. He informed the conference participants comprising representatives of business houses and voluntary organisations, that the government will incorporate 12 more disabilities in the new legislation, coming up the winter session of the parliament.

He said to provide support systems to the disabled, the government has sanctioned Rs 286 crore for the modernisation of Artificial Limbs  Manufacturing Corporation of India (ALIMCO), a public sector undertaking categorised as a mini ratna.

He said that the government has signed MoUs with German company Otto Bock to help ALIMCO manufacture advanced artificial limb and support systems to empower the disabled.

Initially, artificial limb cost Rs 8 lakh. Later, it came down to Rs 4 lakh. This could be further brought down do Rs 1.5 lakh with the help of ALIMCO, he said.

Every year 30,000 kids are born deaf and dumb. The cochlear implant, a surgically implanted electronic device which gives a sense of sound to a deaf person, cost Rs 6 lakh. The government has decided to provide free cochlear implant to 500 kids and had made provision of Rs 30 crore for this purpose, Gurjar said.

Out of 500, the cochlear implant has already been done for 260 kids and it has been 100 percent successful as those kids are now able to speak and hear properly.

Since the government has limited resources it can do the transplant for 15,000 kids. This would require Rs 900 crore. “I will urge the corporates to adopt such kids and spend their CSR fund on the transplant,” the minister said.

The ministry would also provide motorised cycles and wheelchairs to the disabled going to schools and colleges.

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