Many slots empty, PSU banks told to ease promotions

FP

Faced with an acute shortage of mid-level officers in public sector banks, the government has relaxed promotion norms to fill up vacancies.

The banks can reduce minimum experience requirements, qualifying marks needed in confidential reports and the spell of compulsory service in rural and semi-urban areas to bring more employees into the promotion bracket.

The finance ministry has also assured that banks can approach the department again if they need more easing.

The move has become necessary as a chunk of employees recruited at the height of banking expansion in the late 1970s is due to retire this year and the next. But with little or no hiring from the 1990s, most state-owned lenders are in the midst of a manpower crunch.

RBI data shows there are about 4 lakh officers in the 29 PSU banks as on March 31, 2011. Nearly 20 per cent of them are expected to retire by 2015 while the pace of recruitment is far lower.

The new rules circulated to banks by the finance ministry say they can lower the minimum experience required for a scale by three months and also relax the minimum marks in the annual performance appraisals.

The banks will have to get their respective boards to approve the changes, but those are expected to go through easily.

"The reason for any such relaxation or deviation must be properly recorded in the minutes of the board meetings," the finance ministry instructions said. The relaxations were made on the basis of representations from several banks, it added.

The shortage has assumed crisis proportions

at a time of rapid bank expansion.

In 2013-14, the government plans to open 12,000 PSU bank branches in the country, 2,700 of them in Uttar Pradesh alone. This contrasts with 1,500 branches opened across the country in 2006-07.

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