Smaller companies spent more on corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives in the last fiscal, ending March 2015, than their larger counterparts, according to a report by Crisil.
About 1,300 listed companies in India fell under the "mandatory 2% CSR spend" ambit, of which as many as 75% formally reported CSR activity, spending on average 1.35% of their net profit — or well below the mandatory 2%, Crisil said.
"Smaller companies were relatively more enthusiastic about spending on CSR activity compared to their larger counterparts in the 2015 fiscal. Clearly, they are not short on altruistic, society-building motivation. This also reflects a broad-basing of CSR activity in India Inc," said Crisil in a report.
Over 90% of the companies had opted to spend on CSR despite a 50% tax break on donations to the Prime Minister's Relief Fund, the report said.
Private sector companies have been as socially responsive as their public-sector peers, and ended up spending marginally more than the latter.
Crisil said another Rs 5,200 crore could have been spent had all companies met the 2% norm, which would have taken the cumulative expenditure to Rs 12,000 crore for FY2015.
For the bigger companies, the challenge is the large size of their spending mandate, so they need considerable time and effort to conceptualise and design processes to maximise outcomes, it said.
Companies in West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh had spent more on CSR than those in industrialised states.
"Other than industrialised states such as Gujarat, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra, where companies have performed well in terms of CSR spending, it is heartening to see companies based in West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh spending more than the national average," Crisil said.