In an effort to make meaningful utilisation of the funds under Corporate social responsibility (CSR), Odisha government on Friday decided to set up a State Level Council as facilitating agency to help companies plan according to the development needs.

"A State Level Council as a facilitating agency will help CSR planning of the corporate houses in line with development needs of the State," Chief Secretary A P Padhi said while presiding over a meeting attended by representatives of corporate houses, industry associations and chambers of commerce.

Participants in the meeting welcomed the Chief Secretary’s proposal.

They maintained that such an effort would be more useful both for corporate houses and the people, an official release said.

On the proposed council, industries secretary Sanjeev Chopra said it would only facilitate the CSR spending by the companies and help them report on developmental outcomes.

Such coordinated approach would lead to target oriented utilisation of the CSR funds, he said.

According to the existing provisions of the law, companies with a net worth of Rs 500 crore or more or turnover of Rs 1,000 crore or more or with net profit of Rs 5 crore or more, have to spend at least 2 per cent of their average net profit on CSR activities.

Officials said around 287 corporate houses have spent nearly around Rs 344.12 crore in CSR activities during 2014-15.

Out of this amount, around Rs 96.15 crore has been spent on infrastructure development, Rs 71.93 crore on education, Rs 51.23 crore on health, Rs 40.57 crore on environmental protection, Rs 29.06 crore on livelihood promotion, Rs 11.55 crore on vocational training and Rs 44.16 crore on other CSR activities in the state.

"Around 90 per cent of the funds have been spent only in 10 districts. CSR activities are also unsystematically spread across districts and various sectors of development," the meeting resolved.