High-Level Committee Current Affairs - 2019

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High Level Committee recommends CSR expenditure to be made tax deductible

High Level Committee (HLC) on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) constituted by Ministry of Corporate Affairs recommended making CSR expenditure tax deductible and to make compliance violations as a civil offence that attracts penalties. Corporate Affairs Secretary Injeti Srinivas presented the Report of the High Level Committee on CSR to Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.

High Level Committee on CSR was constituted in October 2018 under Chairmanship of Secretary (Ministry of Corporate Affairs) to review existing CSR framework and make recommendations on strengthening CSR ecosystem, including implementation, monitoring and evaluation of outcomes.

Key Recommendations of Committee

Make CSR expenditure tax deductible.

Allow carry-forward of unspent balance for a period of 3-5 years.

Allow CSR in social benefit bonds.

Promote social impact companies.

Third party assessment of major CSR projects.

Align Schedule 7 of Companies Act (which outlines the kinds of activities that qualify as CSR) with United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).

Companies that have a CSR-prescribed amount less than Rs.50 lakh may be exempted from constituting a CSR Committee.

Violation of CSR compliance may be made a civil offence and shifted to penalty regime.

It also recommends registration of implementation agencies on Union Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) portal.

Balancing priorities: Report recommends balancing local area preferences with national priorities when it comes to CSR. It also suggests introducing impact assessment studies for CSR obligations of Rs.5 crore or more.

Develop CSR exchange portal to connect contributors, beneficiaries and agencies.

Committee report emphasizes on not treating CSR as a means of resource gap funding for government schemes.

RBI constitutes high-level committee to review ATM charges

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has constituted a high-level committee under the chairmanship of VG Kannan, Chief Executive of Indian Banks’ Association (IBA) to review the entire gamut of ATM charges and fees.

Key Highlights

  • Background: There are around 2 lakh ATMs in India. At end of April 2019, there were over 88.47 crore debit cards and 4.8 crore credit cards in function, and as per RBI data during April only 80.9 crore transactions were done through debit cards on ATM.
  • Need: Over the years, uses of ATMs have grown significantly and there have been persistent demand of changing ATM charges and fees. Thus amid demands for reviewing the levies by bank, RBI constituted high-level committee.
  • Constitution: The six member committee chaired by of VG Kannan, will consist of members namely- Dilip Asbe (CEO, National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI)), Giri Kumar Nair (CGM, State Bank of India (SBI), Sanjeev Patel (CEO, Tata Communications Payment Solutions (TCPSL)), S Sampath Kumar (Group Head, Liability Products, HDFC Bank), and K Srinivas (Director, Confederation of ATM Industry (CATMi)).
  • Function:
  • It will examine existing patterns of costs, charges and interchange fees by banks for automated teller machines (ATMs) transactions.
  • It will review overall patterns of usage of ATMs by cardholders and also assess impact (if any) on charges and interchange fees levied by banks.
  • It will assess entire range of costs in respect of ATM ecosystem within the country.
  • It will make recommendations on optimal charge or interchange fee structure and pattern.
  • Timeframe: It will submit its report to RBI within two months from date of its first meeting.