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SBI commits 0.25% of annual profit to fight COVID-19 pandemic

Rajnish Kumar, chairman, SBI

India’s largest public-sector lender the State Bank of India (SBI) has committed 0.25% of its annual profit (FY 2019-20) to fight the COVID-19 outbreak situation in India. The fund used to fight COVID-19 pandemic will be spent from CSR (corporate social responsibility) funds. It is the first among the banking industry to announce measures to fight the deadly disease.

The lender plans to use this fund for various activities related to COVID-19 mainly to support health care for underprivileged people in cooperation with health care professionals and industry. Some of the initiatives will center around the promotion of healthcare, including preventive health care and sanitation and disaster management, it said in a statement.

Rajnish Kumar, Chairman, SBI said “This is a time for the nation to be united. We at SBI will continue our support towards the people and communities of India amidst this critical period in the best possible way. I also urge all the responsible corporate citizens to come forward and not only take all precautionary preventive measures for the entire staff, their families and people around but also contribute generously to support fellow countrymen who need financial help in these unprecedented difficult times.”

SBI’s announcement came in after the Central Government declared contributions by companies towards fighting the Covid-19 pandemic as a CSR activity.

“In view of the spread of novel #coronavirus in India, its declaration as a pandemic by the WHO, and the decision of the government of India to treat this as a notified disaster, is hereby clarified that spending of CSR funds for Covid-19 is eligible CSR activity,” Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s office tweeted.

Now companies along with banks would be able to spend CSR funds through items listed under schedule VII related to promoting health care, preventive health care, sanitation, and disaster management.  Schedule VII includes funds such as the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund and Swachh Bharat Kosh.

The Covid-19 virus that emanated in China last year has been declared a pandemic by the WHO earlier this month. It has so claimed over 14,150 people so far globally. With flu-like symptoms, the cases of Covid19 is increasing in India every day and has crossed the 500-mark.

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