India Inc will not be obliged under law to share their profits for the betterment of the elderly, about 8.5% of the population.
The Companies Act, which came into force earlier this month, doesn’t mention senior citizens as one of the beneficiaries of the corporate social responsibility (CSR) obligation of public and private sector companies. The law mandates companies worth more than `500 crore should spend at least 2% of their profit for society’s betterment through nine different listed CSR activities.
The company’s CSR board is required to pick any of the activities like eradicating hunger and poverty, promoting education and gender equality, reducing child mortality and improving maternal health from the seventh schedule in the law.
Alternatively, companies can donate money to the Prime Minister’s relief fund or other government fund for betterment of scheduled castes, scheduled tribes, other backward classes, minorities and women.
“While all other societal aspects of corporate social responsibility have been included, old age has not been touched upon,” Himanshu Rath, director of an advocacy group for elderly Agewell Foundation said, in a letter to corporate affairs minister Sachin Pilot.
The government can seek corporate India’s help to provide succour to elderly as the law empowers the Centre to amend the schedule (under section 467) and include more activities for corporate social responsibility.
From 103 million in 2011, the number of elderly is expected to triple by 2020, constituting 20% of the population. A World Health Organisation report in 2010 said that, with increase in affluence, the old were getting marginalised both socially and economically as India does not have a social and health security system for senior citizens.