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Spending funds for setting up makeshift hospitals, temporary COVID care facilities eligible CSR activity: Govt

Earlier, the Ministry of Corporate Affairs had clarified that spending CSR funds on awareness campaigns and public outreach programmes to promote vaccination against COVID-19 would also be considered as an eligible CSR activity.

April 22, 2021 / 08:49 PM IST
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Representative Image

The Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) clarified on April 22 that spending of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) funds for “setting up makeshift hospitals and temporary COVID care facilities” is an eligible CSR activity.

"The companies may undertake the aforesaid activities in consultation with state governments subject to fulfillment of Companies (CSR) Rules, 2014 and the circulars related to CSR issues by this Ministry from time to time," the MCA order stated.

On January 22 this year, the MCA had issued an order clarifying that spending CSR funds on awareness campaigns and public outreach programmes to promote vaccination against COVID-19 would also be considered as an eligible CSR activity.

Also read: Coronavirus vaccine: India Inc starts drawing roadmap to vaccinate employees

The government’s decision to include these activities under CSR comes at a time when the country’s medical system is struggling to cope with the rising number of COVID-19 cases.

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COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

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How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

How many types of vaccines are there?

There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

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"Considering the current situation, this is good thinking by the government. However, it would have been preferable to make it wider covering all activites related to our fight against Covid for example supply of essentials to hospitals," said Darshan Upadhyay, Managing Partner at Stratage Law Partners.

Several states have even imposed restrictions to control the pandemic, which scaled a new record of 3.14 lakh fresh cases on April 22.

Earlier today, the central government said that it was reluctant to permit companies in India to classify their employee vaccination spends under corporate social responsibility or allow them to use the funds exclusively for employee inoculation.

However, the government said it may consider companies spends as corporate social responsibility if the larger community is included in their vaccination drive.

Mahindra Group Chairman Anand Mahindra also said that till the time corporates get COVID-19 vaccine supplies directly, they can support hospitals in setting up vaccination camps in open spaces to reduce the risk of infection at hospital venues.

The government has also turned to corporates to help out in increasing the production of oxygen needed for patients in the county.

Reliance Industries as part of its corporate social responsibility is supplying oxygen supplies to states like Gujarat, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh and will provide relief to over 70,000 critically ill patients everyday.

Disclaimer: MoneyControl is a part of the Network18 group. Network18 is controlled by Independent Media Trust, of which Reliance Industries is the sole beneficiary.
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