The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved amendments to the Companies Act, to decriminalize various offenses. The proposed amendments were aimed at improving the ease of doing business. Cabinet has approved 72 changes to 65 sections of the Companies Act. Briefly speaking, out of 66 compoundable offenses under the Act, 23 will get re-categorized so that they can be dealt with through in-house adjudication framework, 7 have been omitted altogether, 11 will have limited punishment in the form of fines alone by removing imprisonment provision, 5 will be dealt with under different alternative frameworks, 6 which had earlier been decriminalized will now have reduced quantum of penalties. Major amendments were seen about CSR where companies that should spend Rs. 50 lakh per annum or less on corporate social responsibility (CSR) are no longer required to have a CSR committee. Further, companies that spend over the obligated 2% on CSR in a particular year can carry it forward as credit for the fulfillment of CSR obligations for the next few years as well. Under the current provisions, penalties are prescribed for the non-cooperation of promoters or directors of a company that is being wound up. The Bill has proposed that the issue be dealt with under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Bill, instead of imposing criminal liability for such an offense. A similar approach has been proposed for official liquidators too as the ministry of corporate affairs and a committee appointed by it was of the view that this can be dealt through administrative action. The government planning to introduce a Bill during the current session of Parliament. The Company Law Committee had been tasked with exploring other mechanisms as well, such as plea bargain, to reduce the load on companies for minor offenses but has so far stuck to decriminalize several provisions. A group of ministers, who looked at the law in detail, had decided against reducing the penalties for serious offenses such as fraud and the proposed changes are meant to make life simpler for businesses.