The Union Minister of Ports, Shipping & Waterways and Ayush, Shri Sarbananda Sonowal, unveiled the new guidelines for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) called ‘Sagar Samajik Sahayog’ by the Ministry of Ports, Shipping & Waterways. The guidelines aim to empower ports to address local community issues more efficiently and collaboratively. The launch event was attended by Union Minister of State for Ports, Shipping & Waterways, Shri Shantanu Thakur, and Union Minister of State of Ports, Shipping & Waterways, Shripad Yesso Naik.
Empowering Ports for Community Welfare
Shri Sonowal emphasized the government’s commitment to minimum government and maximum governance. The revised CSR guidelines enable ports to initiate, implement, and accelerate projects for the welfare of local communities. The framework encourages local communities to actively participate as partners in the development and positive transformation of their regions. The Minister highlighted the potential of CSR as a catalyst for change and progress, aligning with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of empowering institutions and communities for a self-reliant India.
Scope and Implementation of New CSR Guidelines
The new CSR guidelines primarily impact projects and programs related to activities specified in Section 70 of the Major Port Authorities Act, 2021. To facilitate effective planning and execution of CSR projects, each major port will establish a Corporate Social Responsibility Committee. This committee, headed by the Deputy Chairperson of the Major Port, will consist of two additional members. Moreover, each major port will prepare a Corporate Social Responsibility Plan for each financial year, integrating CSR goals with the social and environmental concerns associated with port operations.
Budget Allocation and Mandates
CSR budgets will be allocated as a percentage of net profit, requiring a Board Resolution. Ports with an annual net profit of ₹100 crores or less will allocate between 3% and 5% for CSR expenses. For ports with a net profit ranging from ₹100 crores to ₹500 crores annually, the allocation will be between 2% and 3% of net profit, with a minimum of ₹3 crores. Ports with an annual net profit exceeding ₹500 crores can allocate between 0.5% and 2% of their net profit towards CSR initiatives.
Allocation of Funds
The new guidelines specify the allocation of CSR funds for various purposes. Twenty percent of CSR expenses must be earmarked for the Sainik Kalyan Board at the district level, National Maritime Heritage Complex, and National Youth Development Fund. Furthermore, 78% of the funds should be directed towards social and environmental welfare initiatives, including drinking water projects, education, vocational training, skill development, renewable energy sources, health and family welfare, livelihood promotion for economically weaker sections, community centers, and hostels. Additionally, 2% of the total CSR expenses will be allocated for project monitoring by the ports.