CSR spend of SBI capped at 1% of profit: Bhattacharya

SBI has so far spent Rs.144 crore under CSR during this financial year.

Sharath Chowdary

Though the Companies Act 2013 mandates all Indian business entities to spend 2% of their profit on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities, the Reserve Bank has asked the State Bank of India (SBI) to spend only 1% of its profit on CSR until the country’s banking sector is improved, SBI Chairperson Arundhati Bhattacharya said.

She spoke to media after donating Rs.1.15 crore worth ophthalmic equipment to LV Prasad Eye Institute (LVPEI) in Hyderabad on Thursday. SBI has been spending 1% of its profits on CSR since 1973. Committed to the economic and social wellbeing of the people, SBI has so far spent Rs.144 crore under CSR during this fiscal, she said.

“As a statutory corporation, SBI does not need to adhere to Companies Act. We have to take the regulator’s consent to spend on CSR. The Reserve Bank feels that SBI should continue the CSR spending with 1% of the profits, due to the stress in the country’s banking system. Later, we may increase our CSR spend to 2% of our profits,” Bhattacharya said.

The regulator has not issued any instructions to the banks on CSR spending. But, banks such as SBI voluntarily donate to the society contributing up to 1% of their profits.

Elaborating on the recent CSR initiatives of the bank, Bhattacharya said, “SBI has identified 21 rural areas in the country to develop them as digital villages. The bank intends to digitise at least 100 villages by the end of this fiscal year.”

“With an objective to penetrate digital banking in villages, the bank is planning to offer many facilities such as free Wi-Fi hot spots and technology training sessions. These facilities will enable the villagers to download education material and receive telemedicine in the rural regions of the country,” she added.

SBI Hyderabad Circle has donated an overall Rs.8 crore in this fiscal under various CSR activities including Rs.2.20 crore under Swatch Bharath Campaign, Rs.4.40 crore for 16 ambulances and medical equipment in Telangana and AP. It also provided solar lights in 87 villages in these states.

L V Prasad Eye Institute Founder and Chair Dr Gullapalli N Rao and SBI Chairperson Arundhati Bhattacharya unveiling the new ophthalmic equipment at LV Prasad Eye Institute in Hyderabad on Thursday.

The Dollar Business Bureau - Jul 29, 2016 12:00 IST