2 August 2021
Contributions for COVID-19 vaccine to qualify as CSR

The second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic has been steadily countered, and now the focus of the Government has shifted towards vaccinating individuals. As of 2 August 2021, 36,79,94,586 beneficiaries received their first dose of the vaccine while 10,42,29,053 received their second dose, bringing the count of total doses administered to 47,22,23,6391. Vaccination is undoubtedly the ticket to return to normalcy and the best counter for an anxiously anticipated third wave. Against this backdrop, the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) issued General Circular No. 13/2021 on 30 July 2021, which provides clarification on the spending of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Funds for COVID-19 vaccination.

The MCA in General Circular No. 10/2020 dated 23 March 2020 had clarified that spending of CSR funds for COVID-19 would qualify as an eligible CSR activity. MCA issued multiple circulars on the subject of COVID-19 contributions qualifying as CSR between 15 April 2020 and 5 May 2021. A summarized analysis of all these MCA pronouncements can be found on https://www.suditkparekh.com/pdf/Amendments_to_CSR_activities_for_the_year_2020-21.pdf
Overview of General Circular No. 13/2021
The General Circular No. 13/2021 pronounces that spending of CSR funds for vaccination of persons other than the employees and their families would qualify as CSR under item nos. (i) and (xii) of Schedule VII of the Companies Act, 2013.
  • Item (i) of Schedule VII covers activities for promoting health care, including preventive health care
  • Item (xii) of Schedule VII covers disaster management, including relief, rehabilitation, and reconstruction activities.
Link to General Circular No. 13/2021:
Our Comments
General Circular No. 13/2021 comes on the heels of General Circular No. 09/2021 on 5 May, which clarified that the creation of healthcare infrastructure for COVID care, establishment of medical oxygen generation and storage plants, manufacturing and supply of oxygen concentrators, ventilators, cylinders, and other medical activities would qualify as CSR. It is needless to say that vaccination is the way forward in order to achieve economic and social normalcy. As the Government arranges and hands out the vaccines to numerous beneficiaries, vaccinating a population of 1.3664 billion still remains a mammoth task. Corporate India can do its bit by providing vaccinations to persons other than employees and their families to support the Government to ensure that any further surges of COVID-19 are not disruptive to the economy and society as a whole.
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