‘No action even if CSR norms aren’t followed’

‘FinMin to ensure rate cuts passed on’

Updated - August 08, 2019 11:01 pm IST

Published - August 08, 2019 10:49 pm IST - NEW DELHI

In one voice: Sanjiv Puri, Rishad Premji and Balesh Sharma at a collective meeting with the Finance Minister. pti

In one voice: Sanjiv Puri, Rishad Premji and Balesh Sharma at a collective meeting with the Finance Minister. pti i

The government has given an assurance that it will not initiate punitive action against companies not following the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) norms as mentioned in the recent amendments to the Companies Act, industry leaders said, following a meeting with Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday.

The Finance Ministry will also be looking into ways to ensure that the rate cuts undertaken by the Reserve Bank of India are passed on to consumers by banks.

“A lot of discussion took place on the availability of credit, but any decision taken will be done after the government finishes its consultations,” Sajjan Jindal, chairman and managing director of the JSW Group, told reporters following the meeting. “The Minister has categorically mentioned that the RBI cut will be passed on entirely.”

“On CSR, it was discussed that the punitive action will not be taken, that was the assurance that was given,” Mr. Jindal added.

The recent amendments to the Companies Act mandate a jail time of up to three years and a possible fine for those companies and its officials that do not comply with the stated CSR norms.

The other issue that was discussed extensively in the meeting was the transmission of the central bank’s interest cuts by the banks to the customers.

‘Cut small savings rates’

“Government needs to look at the small savings rates and reduce them in line with the market rates,” T.V. Narendran, Global CEO and managing director of Tata Steel and vice-president, CII, said following the meeting. “If that does not happen, then the ability of banks to reduce deposit rates and hence ease the lending rates will be at best limited.”

The meeting was attended by senior Finance Ministry officials. Industry leaders present included Sanjiv Puri, chairman and managing director of ITC, Rishad Premji, executive chairman of Wipro Limited, Suneeta Reddy, managing director, Apollo Hospitals Group, Dilip Shanghvi, founder of Sun Pharmaceuticals, and Ajay Piramal, chairman of the Piramal Group.

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