CSR Committee Meeting – 20th March 2020
AMCHAM’s CSR Committee held a committee meeting on March 20th through Webex. Mr. Harish Krishnan, Chairman – CSR Committee, AMCHAM and Managing Director, Public Affairs & Strategic Engagements, Cisco India & SAARC, Cisco Systems (India), welcomed participants and encouraged members during these abnormal times. He mentioned the Prime Minister’s crowd sourcing for fixes regarding COVID-19 and asked companies to send in their suggestions. Ms. Kshitija Krishnaswamy, Co-Chairperson – CSR Committee, AMCHAM and Director, Corporate Citizenship, Accenture India, emphasized that companies need to stay in communication with one another as CSR programs will get greatly affected during this time. Ms. Sangita Ghalay, Co-Chairperson – CSR Committee, AMCHAM and Head – CSR, Honeywell India, asked members to send their inputs on the new CSR policy amendment rules so that AMCHAM can make a collective representation to the government.
The meeting explored how American companies can help with CSR initiatives to mitigate impact of COVID-19. USAID talked about the need to spread awareness on the virus at the workplace. The U.S. government has made the virus a priority and they would soon share specific ways that members can partner with civil society and government to combat COVID-19. It became evident that there are limited NGOs working specifically on COVID-19 and that AMCHAM would help gather info about it.
Mr. Jay Badola, Partner, Dua Associates and Mr. Akash Nath, Partner, Dua Associates, answered questions on the Draft Companies (Corporate Social Responsibility Policy) Amendment Rules, 2020, which were open for comment through March 28th. Members recommended the reinstatement of trusts and societies for accepting CSR funds. The Q&A also addressed the disclosure of CSR policy and committee members on company websites, whether any long-term, multi-year program need to be truncated and the removal of “contribution to corpus,” among other topics. Mr. Harish Krishnan, in his closing comments, thanked Dua Associates for their expert insights and mentioned, while the date for the annual CSR Conference was unknown, it would surely take place later in the year.