The Ministry of Corporate Affairs has released an updated version of the National Voluntary Guideline on Social, Environmental and Economic Responsibilities of Business. The last version was released two years back.
Though called ‘Voluntary’ the Ministry expects all registered companies to abide by it and disclose their CSR activities through mandatory filings. Releasing the guidelines Corporate Affairs Minister Murli Deora said “it has mainstreamed the subject of business responsibilities and will strengthen and enable the Indian corporate sector to evolve into a global leader in responsible business.” Minister for State R P N Singh added that “We are certain that the corporate world will do it voluntarily and we will not have to make it mandatory”.
The current guidelines are designed to be used by all companies irrespective of size, sector or location, Ministry officials stated that ‘the guideline will undergo further refinement in the future where sector specific guidelines that will consider the specific nature of small and medium scale enterprises, sector requirements etc will be brought out. There will be different specifications for the manufacturing and service sectors.” Till then even MNC’s present in India will have to follow the existing guidelines.