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How tech can help businesses make efficient CSR programs

An increasingly larger spent on corporate social responsibility (CSR) is necessitating adoption and application of sophisticated technologies including artificial intelligence, blockchain technologies, video integration, matchmaking and so on.

How tech can help businesses make efficient CSR programs
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How tech can help businesses make efficient CSR programs

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An increasingly larger spent on corporate social responsibility (CSR) is necessitating adoption and application of sophisticated technologies including artificial intelligence, blockchain technologies, video integration, matchmaking and so on. Going by the latest statistics available from the Union Ministry of Corporate Affairs, India Inc collectively spent Rs24,689 crore as corporate social responsibility (CSR) expenditure in 2020-21. In FY 2021 Tata Group was at the top position with a total spending of nearly Rs1,000 crore on CSR, followed by Reliance Industries (RIL) with a spend of nearly Rs922 crore on social projects, while large corporates like Infosys, ITC, Wipro, Hindustan Zinc, HCL Tech, HUL, GAIL (India) and L&T contributed heavily towards social development programmes and initiatives. A massive segment of India Inc. contributes to Social causes each year.

Mind you that enactment of Companies Act-2013 by the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (at that time), Government of India was one of the world's largest experiments of introducing the CSR as a mandatory provision by imposing statutory obligation on companies to take up CSR projects towards social welfare activities.

Every company with a net worth of at least Rs500 crore or a turnover of Rs1,000 crore or more, or a minimum net profit of Rs5 crore during the immediately preceding financial year has to spend at least two per cent of the average net profits, made during the three immediately preceding financial years, on CSR activities. This has made India the only country which has regulated and mandated CSR for some select categories of companies registered under the Act. This CSR initiative is expected to push the nation towards achievement of sustainable development goals and public-private partnership in transforming India.

Now, the problem is most companies in India and worldwide often can't set up the holistic infrastructure to deploy and manage social projects at scale in-house. Social projects by design are outsourced and deployed by various NGOs, social enterprises, individuals, and mentors who follow social mandates for delivery. Large organizations with multiple live project requirements desire to onboard and curate a set of impact partners.

One has to keep in mind that real-time 360-degree insights on the project status, community projects, fundraisers (viz., retail fundraising or crowd funding), and traditional and other social projects has to be brought to scale with ease, efficiency, transparency, and compliance. While the projects take off, a corresponding need for information management, regular collation of work samples for submissions, project reports, delivery reports, etc., is critical for smooth funds management and execution. And that's where technology comes into play.

Sophisticated technologies can offer solutions driven by artificial intelligence, blockchain technologies, video integration, matchmaking between NGOs, corporates and U/HNI's scoring engine, video-based proof and communication, full transparency with out-of-box audits, smart contracts, public visibility of sponsors, events and impacts, enterprise guide support and analytics and compliance reports, and thereby transform the social project landscape of our country by bringing in more transparency in social projects.

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