It has reported that The State Bank of India annually contributes around 1% of its profits to socially relevant and corporate social responsibility projects. SBI Chairman Arundhati Bhattacharya shares with BusinessLine details of the projects and strategies the bank adopts.
When she was asked “Does the SBI regularly contribute a sizeable amount for CSR. What kind of spend does the bank do? Is it more than the mandated 2 per cent stipulated by the Companies Act?” she said, “We did not start this now. We have been doing it from the beginning. We don’t contribute the mandatory 2% because we are a statutory company. As a statutory company created by an Act of Parliament, the Companies Act does not apply to us. For a very long time, we have been using 1 per cent of our profits for CSR activities. Even today, we continue to use 1 per cent; especially because banks have been going through a lot of stress in the past few years. The Reserve Bank of India has told us to keep it at 1%. But, we are trying to increase the volunteering.”
“We have been working on all of these areas. For instance, under Swachh Bharat, last year, , we asked each of our 14 LHOs (Local Head Offices) to adopt one district and build toilets for girls in all schools in that district.”, she said.
“With respect to education, we are doing a project along side Oracle India, called D-Change. Under this programme, we go to schools and teach children how to use internet and computers for productive purposes. With the help of volunteers from SBI and Oracle, we provide vocational training in 117 Rural Self Employment Training Institutes.,” he added.
“In the past few years, we have trained almost 2,50,000 people, 49 per cent of whom are either employed or run a business. We also give them small loans, if we feel that we can settle them in a good business.”, she said.
“Besides all of these, we have also donated a large number of ambulances and medical equipment. We have given Rs 10 lakh to 35 people who were not able to afford heart surgeries. Recently, we donated a van to the Indian Cancer Society. The van has an entire lab for detecting cancer, including space for general examination, a blood testing unit, a Pap smear unit and a mammogram unit.” SBI chairman said.
On How does the SBI measure the success of its intervention in societal projects?, she said, “That is one of the reasons why we set up a foundation. When we were doing it through the bank, the contributions were in small pieces and we could not really assess the impact. Now, we are doing this through the foundation; we are doing many of these projects in conjunction with others, and because the scope of the project becomes large, it is much easier to measure the impact. We started doing the impact measurement last year. We will have to wait for a while to understand what change we are making.”