The Bhutan National Bank wants to contribute or give back to the community. They are calling on  Bhutanese individuals and organisations for proposals to fund activities in waste and environment management and controlling drugs and substance abuse.

The  bank recently revamped its systems to provide advanced banking solutions, launched a new logo and started other initiatives to improve services. BNB as one of the earliest banks or the first commercial bank is rich. There is a rush for their shares, which we can surmise is the most traded if not sought after.

What is appreciated is the bank’s corporate social responsibility (CSR). The bank also recently announced scholarships for students. It is quite rare for rich businesses in the country to pump back money for general good. Quite often, the profits are ploughed back to expand businesses after paying the shareholders and employees.

After decades of development, policies and wise leadership to help businesses and companies grow, some of them have progressed so much that they could help the government through their corporate social responsibilities. It is not mandatory unlike those of the poorer state owned enterprises. But if there is the financial might, there are the needs.

Not to say that all our rich businesses are stingy, but there are pressing issues that contributions could help.  Issues like waste management, development or upkeep of public infrastructure – parks and playgrounds, roads or sidewalks would benefit the public, the thromdes and even the government when budget is the main excuse for not developing these facilities.

There had been instances of companies taking up projects through the CSR. Not long ago, The Tashi Group redeveloped a good portion of the Phuentsholing town when they took up beautification and landscaping of the town. Other big businesses like Zimdra and Zhiwaling had been supporting activities including promotion of sports in the country.

Bhutanese businesses, however, could do more. There are many with ideas but without resources or access to it. Bhutanese do not hesitate to give, but like a head of a civil society organization said, it is difficult to raise funds in Bhutan, no matter how brilliant or noble the cause is, unless it is related to religious activities.

There is no denying about it. Religious groups or activities often receive more than they require. There are instances of organisers stopping people from contributing. Bhutanese also donate without hesitation to help the sick needing huge amounts for referral outside the country.

The BNB choosing waste management and drug abuse is exemplary. The two themes  are  big problems in the country needing our own interventions. The hope, among those aware of the announcements, is that this will be an example for others to follow.  There must have been others who are contributing or have contributed from sponsoring singing shows to football or archery competitions and environment. But Bhutanese can do more.

We need not wait for a pandemic or a special occasion to contribute. There are a lot of areas and many important issues that can be made possible through CSRs or social mandates.