SBI helps beneficiaries in the most creative and proficient manner
It gives me immense pleasure to write about my views and experiences on Social Responsibility. Social responsibility has not been a new area to explore at State Bank of India – it is intensely ingrained in the culture of the bank which has been undertaking csr initiatives since 1973, much before the formal csr concept came into existence. This was taken forward by community services in the name of innovative banking covering both banking and non-banking activities; which is still continuing and is called csr now. We have always believed that it is our prime duty to help the less fortunate and underprivileged members of society make sustainable change in their lives. Our bank earmarks 1 per cent of the previous year’s net profit as the budget for csr spend for the year. Our csr activities have made a significant difference in the lives of millions from underserved communities.
There have been times when our personal interactions with beneficiaries from different projects made us feel more connected to the cause we are working for. We understood how this, as a platform, was transforming many lives. Certain meetings, visits and interactions turn out to be so valuable that it creates deeper understanding, perspectives and new ideas and innovations. These insights allow us to refine our way of functioning in the development sector. One appreciates that the struggle is real and one wants to make a meaningful contribution towards society. In this process, we are doing ourselves a favour – society as a whole will benefit by their contribution and not the other way round.
We at State Bank of India are proud torchbearers of a glorious tradition of social service. We have launched the State Bank of India Foundation, a Section 8 Company under the Companies Act 2013 with the aim of ensuring that this tradition is carried out in as efficient and as impactful a manner as possible. sbi dedicates itself again through the sbi Foundation to continue with its service beyond banking. The sbi Foundation undertakes the csr initiatives of the State Bank of India under one umbrella and implements projects in a project mode in order to show considerable impact. In FY17 sbi spent R109.82 crore on csr.
The bank supports various ngos/other eligible institutions under its normal donations category to carry on with developmental activities covering csr focus areas viz healthcare, education, environment, skill development, rural development, and vocational training for gainful employment of PwDs. The bank also spends its csr spend under its direct activities programme through blood donation camps, medical camps, tree plantation drives, vocational training programmes, donation of stretchers, wheelchairs and ambulances.
Apart from the above, State Bank of India has played an active role in running sbi Youth for India as one of the flagship projects of the sbi Foundation. sbi Youth for India is a 13-month rural fellowship, gap-year programme that provides a platform to motivated young professionals from diverse backgrounds to work on various projects by living in a rural environment and identifying the problems and accordingly solving them through innovative solutions.
The bank has set up 152 Rural Self Employment Training Institutes (rsetis) across the country to curb the unemployment rate among youth as per the guidelines of the ministry of rural development (MoRD), government of India. Every rural youth who is a part of the institute is given training through a residential training programme in personality and skill development. Close to 75,000 youth are trained every year and are directed towards gainful engagement in employment opportunities. The overall settlement ratio has been 60 per cent since its inception.
The sbi Foundation has also set up a Centre of Excellence for Persons with Disabilities (PwDs) in Bangalore. The flagship project, Parivarthan, works primarily on inclusion and empowerment of PwDs. It has been launched and initiated to provide training to 250 PwDs in two skilling centres in Bangalore and Hosur through an integrated course called Work Integrated Soft Skills & English (wise) to avail of better livelihood opportunities by market linked trainings and jobs in the organised sector.
Challenges, however, remain in the areas of finding authentic ways of reaching out to beneficiaries through cause-driven proposals and implementing the projects in the field, making sure of attaining the purpose and meeting the needs of the underprivileged in the most efficient way.
We hope to continue to create an impact through our projects by picking up areas that need attention and at the same time be able to measure the impact not just quantitatively but qualitatively. The sbi Foundation continues to identify innovative projects in rural, semi-urban and urban areas that endeavour to solve real problems and provide solutions that help the beneficiaries in the most creative and proficient manner.