State Bank of India, which is the largest employer of those with disabilities, has taken the lead to set up a Centre of Excellence (CoE) for training employees with disability in Bengaluru.

The bank has set up the CoE keeping in mind it employs 2,800 people with disability — about 1.4 per cent of its overall employee strength — and also to be of service to other public sector enterprises and banks.

The CoE has been set up by the SBI Foundation.

Explaining the rationale for setting up the CoE in Bengaluru, SBI Chairman Arundhati Bhattacharya said: “At this point, this will be the only centre... Bengaluru has a lot of experts who can give us the right kind of inputs to get this centre moving in the right way and, thereafter, we will see how it goes.”

The centre initially will be ‘training the trainer’ and it is expected to create the training modules or programmes. Bhattacharya said: “Similarly, with other banks or public sector enterprises, we will train their trainers, and they in turn will train their staff at their banks; so they will not have to be brought here.”

CoE has not set any target for itself. “We are not taking a number as target. The target is basically to try and do things better ourselves. Ensure that every one of our employees is fully trained and therefore fully integrated,” Bhattacharya said.

SBI is planning to help Canara Bank and Central Bank of India train their staff. “We are trying to work with various other banks. The General Manager, Human Resources, Canara Bank, met us. We are talking to them on how to train their staff,” she said.

As for Central Bank of India, the training is for pan-India operations. “Yes. We will share our knowledge with them, see how it goes and then take it further because this is the first time we are starting all of this. Obviously, it will take a little time for us to really get it going,” she added.

With regard to funds, Bhattacharya said: “SBI is required to use or spend 1 per cent of its profits for CSR activities. So, whatever the net profit of the bank, 1 per cent of that gets used the next year. Usually it exceeds, you see the past trends, it has exceeded 1 per cent.”