The government’s recent move of amending Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) norms to include
Research and development (R&D) spending on new vaccine, drugs, medical devices related to
COVID-19 has been welcomed by industry experts, who opine that this will further “motivate
corporates” to pump in their time and resources to make “world a safer place”.
According to a gazette notification issued earlier this week, any company engaged in research and
development activity of new vaccine, drugs and medical devices in their normal course of business
may undertake research and development activity of new vaccine, drugs and medical devices
related to COVID-19 for financial years 2020-21, 2021-22 and 2022-23 subject to the conditions.
These conditions are “such research and development activities shall be carried out in
collaboration with any of the institutes or organisations mentioned in item (ix) of Schedule VII to
the Act. And, details of such activity shall be disclosed separately in the Annual Report on CSR
included in the Board’s Report”, according to the corporate affairs ministry notification.
As per the notification, the R&D projects funded by central and state governments or state-owned
enterprises will qualify as CSR spending. The other institutions with which companies can partner
include public funded universities, IITs, national laboratories, institutions under Indian Council of
Agricultural Research (ICAR), Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), Council of Scientific and
Industrial Research (CSIR) and various other central ministries and departments that conduct
According to MD and Radiologist, Dr. Sunita Dube, the move is especially good as a lot of new
introductions are expected like vaccines, technology, medications in the coming days and it will
“definitely” create a huge impact for the upcoming plans which will eventually help the community at
large. “Hence, being the founder of one of India’s largest volunteer bodies Medscape India we are also
proposing to have special hospitals allocated only for our frontline warriors, our Doctors,” she said.
Devir SIngh Bhandari, Founder of Klover, that manufactures sanitary and hygienic products like soaps,
hand washes and bathing gels said in a scenario where the vaccine is yet to see the light of the day and prevention being the only cure, any and every activity that helps corporates to impact people's lives positively is definitely an act of utmost kindness. “This (move) will give a huge impetus to corporates who will be all the more motivated to pump time and resources into making the world a safer place,” he said.
More than 60,000 Indians have died from Covid-19, and India will soon have the third-largest death toll,after the United States and Brazil. Its overall number of reported infections is already the world’s third-highest.India has reported more than 3 million total cases, and its day-to-day increase is now substantially higher than that of either the United States or Brazil, which have reported between 40,000 to 50,000 new infections per day in recent days.
Omkar Herlekar, Chairman and Managing Director of Lasa Supergenerics said the government’s move
gives enough opportunities for such companies to plan and strategize the next course of action to tackle the issues related to Covid-19. “The amendments in the corporate social responsibility rules under the companies law will expedite the research and development processes for Covid-19 and also help to boost funding for developing new vaccines, drugs and medical devices related to
the coronavirus pandemic,” Herlekar said.
By: Murtuza Merchant