Assessing and finalising an implementing agency for a CSR project is a crucial first step in any CSR partnership. It can be a daunting task as NGOs in India work with different processes and practices. Though the assessment differs from donor to donor, some of the common practices followed by donor companies are to look into the NGO's geographical presence based on their project requirement, statutory registrations numbers of NGOs, policies around the prevention of child labour and sexual harassment for the projects if any, existing project processes entailing regular monitoring and evaluation, accounting system, team structure and their skill sets. Several donors might also seek past/current Partners' feedback.
Though some of the assessment practices may be internal to a donor company, here are some of the statutory prerequisites laid out by the government. It aims towards streamlining the process, providing credibility to the NGOs, ensuring transparency and helping corporates identify implementing NGOs.
• An organisation either created independently by the company or it could be created in partnership with another company, which may take the form of a company established under Section 8 of the Companies Act, or a registered public trust or society that has been registered under Section 12A and 80G of the Income Tax Act, 1961.
• An organization established under Section 8 of the Companies Act or a registered trust or society established by either the Central Government or State Government can also undertake CSR activities
• Statutory bodies that are established under an Act of Parliament or a State legislature are eligible.
• Several other kinds of bodies which are registered as a company under section 8 of the Act, or a registered public trust or registered society and registered under sections 12A and 80G of the Income Tax Act, 1961 can also implement CSR programmes.
A track record of 3 years in undertaking similar activities, for a company established under section 8 of the Act, or a registered public trust or a registered society, registered under sections 12A and 80G of the Income Tax Act, 1961.
• 80G and 12A are a must.
• Furthermore, the Implementing Agency must register itself by filing a CSR-1 form on the Ministry of Corporate Affairs portal (MCA) as per rule 4 of the Companies (CSR Policy) Rules, 2014 w.e.f. 01st April 2021 to be allowed to undertake CSR activities on behalf of the company portal. On successful registration, the agency gets a unique CSR Registration Number.
• An implementing agency already undertaking a project approved between January 22nd and March 31st, 2021 can continue to do so. However, such organisations must register on the portal before taking up any newer projects from 01st April 2021 onwards.
• Also, if the company implements the CSR activities directly, there is no need to file the CSR-1 form.
This article has been published by Give Discover which is an information platform providing browsable and searchable information about social impact in India. The purpose of the article is to simplify information for NGOs and companies implementing Corporate Social Responsbility projects. The above article is no substitute for the legal interpretation of the Bill or Act. Legal advice on these matters is advised and recommended. Give Discover does not take any responsibility for any loss or damage caused to any organization or individual in any manner, due to any step taken, directly or indirectly, based on the above article.