What kind of projects has the SBI take up under its Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives, especially on education, empowerment, financial inclusion and Swachh Bharat?
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.
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.
Subsequent to the students being taught, we hold weekend classes where the students in turn teach their parents.
With the help of volunteers from SBI and Oracle, we provide vocational training in 117 Rural Self Employment Training Institutes.
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.
In Karnataka, under the Gram Ujjwala scheme, we have donated one solar street lamp each to 212 villages.
Besides all of these, we have also donated a large number of ambulances and medical equipment. We have given RS10 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.
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?
We did not start this now. We have been doing it from the beginning.
We don’t contribute the mandatory 2 per cent 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 per cent. But, we are trying to increase the volunteering.
How does the SBI measure the success of its intervention in societal projects?
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.
After an intervention, when does the SBI decide to disengage?
Normally, when we get into a project, we decide on a goal and the number of people it needs to cover. If that goes well, we can extend the project. We don’t need to disengage, but if we find that it is not working out the way we want, we will disengage and move to some other effort.
Has the SBI made a one-time contribution to any project or movement?
Yes. For instance, we recently made a one-time contribution to the Barasat District Hospital, Kolkata, for a radiation machine. There are other examples, too.
Source : Thehindubusinessline