The Finance Ministry wants relatively younger officers to be at the helm of public sector banks.

As things stand now, by the time an officer is elevated as the chief of a public sector bank, he is either in his mid- or late-50s.

But, the latest guidelines on public sector bank promotions, issued by the Ministry, provide for a bright and ambitious officer to head a bank by the time he is in his mid-to-late-40s if he proves himself to be an ‘all-rounder'.

What the Ministry is envisaging is that an exceptionally bright probationary officer, joining a public sector bank at 22, can become a general manager at 40 if he gets promotion once in three years under the ‘merit channel' and go on to head a bank at 45.

However, the climb-up in the organisation ladder — from Scale I (officer) to Scale VII (general manager) — is not going to be easy.

It calls for some tenacity on the part of an officer. He has to have worked across the country; done rural and semi-urban stints at an early stage in his career; have experience as a branch head; have headed or worked in regional, zonal, or head offices and handled various business verticals at higher levels.

To ensure that only the best rise to the top, the government wants PSBs to constitute an interview committee that includes two outside experts with domain knowledge to screen candidates for the position of assistant general manager (AGM), deputy general manager (DGM) and general manager (GM).

Bankers say that the ‘all-rounder' criteria set out by the Ministry for promotion will be tough to meet.

Deviation from guidelines

The Ministry has issued fresh guidelines on promotions to the 21 PSBs as it has noticed that over the years, many banks have deviated from the guidelines issued in 1986 and 1987.

This deviation has created a number of anomalies across banks in their promotion process, resulting in difficulties in addressing the issues of severe shortage of manpower at the top management levels in PSBs.

(This article was published on December 6, 2011)
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