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Bengal FM writes to Sitharaman to allow corporate funds for COVID-19 from CSR kitty

Kolkata: West Bengal Finance Minister Amit Mitra has urged the central government to allow companies to contribute from their CSR kitty towards the emergency fund created by the state to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mitra's letter to Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday echoed Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's recent stand on the issue.

"West Bengal has set up a state emergency fund under the umbrella of the CM's Relief Fund, exclusively for the purpose of combating the coronavirus pandemic," he said.

Referring to a circular of the ministry of corporate affairs, Mitra stated that corporate social responsibility funds for COVID-19 are eligible to be treated as "CSR activity".

Mitra, however, added that there is confusion with regard to another ministry circular that said contribution to the CM's Relief Fund or a fund created specifically by the state for the pandemic does not qualify as CSR activity.

The Bengal minister said this will "seriously jeopardise" the state's effort to raise funds for fighting the "catastrophic crisis" of gigantic scale and magnitude.

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