Money & Banking

Transactions rise, but rural banks face shortage of manpower

A.J. Vinayak L.N. Revathy Mangalore/Coimbatore | Updated on September 09, 2012 Published on September 09, 2012

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In the olden days, the banker in a village branch was a VIP at the social functions there. He or she had all the contacts, time and manpower to do business that came their way then.

Today, though the business handled by rural banks has increased, they are bogged down by shortage of staff and poor manpower planning.

The Government too wants the banks to take advantage of technology and manage operations with the available manpower.

According to M.V. Karer, General Secretary of Karnataka Vikas Grameen Bank Officers’ Federation, both the nature and volume of business are different in rural areas.

The number of accounts handled is more, partly because banks are used as channels for disbursal of money by the Government for its social welfare schemes.

Whether it is the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (a scheme to provide livelihood security), the Swarnajayanti Gram Swarojgar Yojana (a scheme providing self employment to villagers), or other similar welfare schemes, regional rural banks or rural branches are the first choice, as most of these are targeted at people in the rural areas. Monthly and fortnightly payments to the beneficiaries are top priority for banks in such areas, Karer told Business Line .

In such cases, more pressure is put on rural branches. Compared with urban branches, rural branches of RRBs have skeletal staff strength. In most cases, it is an officer and a clerk who manage the show. In the case of public sector banks, there is a manager, an officer and two clerks in a rural area. C.H. Venkatachalam, General Secretary, All-India Bank Employees’ Association, pointed out that it was often not easy to man the branches with skeletal staff. “Business volumes might not be huge, but the number of transactions is high and we need people to service people who come to these rural branches,” he said referring to the NREGA and other government scheme payouts.

Another banker said that an urban branch can make Rs 2 crore business from one or two customers. But a rural banker has to mobilise the same amount of business from several people. He wonders why the Government applies the same yardstick for manpower planning when the profile of business is different and number of accounts is more in rural areas.

> revathy.lakshminarasimhan@thehindu.co.in

> vinayak.aj@thehindu.co.in

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Published on September 09, 2012
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