Umpathaw, a village with around 100 households, 80 kilometres from Shillong became the 750th village to get access to potable water, a smart school with clean toilets and livelihood support for several households under the HDFC Bank’s Holistic Rural Development Programme (HRDP).
While the bank with its NGO partner SACH has built 6 water tanks and a network of pipelines at the cost of Rs 31 lakh to ensure water is sourced from the mountains and then supplied to 106 households, the village head Sarkin told: “This is the first time since independence that water has reached all households. Earlier, villagers would have to go at least 500 metres to get water from a spring water source.”
HRDP, a CSR initiative of Parivartan, HDFC Bank’s umbrella brand for its development programmes was started in April 2015. The bank aims to cover 1,000 such villages by 2019.
While the latest beneficiaries are the 550-odd inhabitants of Umpathaw, the bank claims that this initiative has impacted over 10 lakh people in 16 states. In Meghalaya the bank has covered 26 villages. Throughout northeast, 42 villages have been covered with 16 in Assam. With a total spend of Rs 305.4 crore on CSR initiatives in 2016-17, HDFC Bank is now the fourth largest CSR spender for the year after Reliance Industries, ONGC and TCS. While the CSR spend stood at Rs 248 crore in FY16, it has earmarked Rs 365 crore towards CSR in FY18.
With HDRP, the bank is looking to better the life of villagers by bringing improvement in the areas of education, skills training, natural resource management, water and sanitation and financial literacy and inclusion.
Paresh Sukthankar, deputy MD, HDFC Bank said: ” This initiative was a microcosm of our attempts to change rural communities. If India has to achieve inclusive growth, our rural areas have to grow in tandem with cities.” He added that through HRDP, the bank is trying to create sustainable communities in remote pockets of the country.
Under this programme, the bank carries out an assessment of the village to understand its developmental needs and then long-term sustainable solutions are carried out in partnership with an NGO and local community. The beneficiaries of HRDP include small farmers, youth, children and women. “Our NGO partners play an instrumental role in planning and executing projects. We work also closely with local communities, who participate in the projects through ‘Shramda’, to make the initiative sustainable,” said Nusrat Pathan, head, corporate social responsibility, HDFC Bank.