Money & Banking

Fearing vacuum in key posts, SBI shelves VRS plan

K Ram Kumar Mumbai | Updated on December 14, 2020

No circular on the scheme that was to open on Dec 1

State Bank of India (SBI) seems to have shelved its plan to offer a golden handshake to its employees.

The proposal, floated in early September, appears to have been put on the back burner as no circular has been issued so far on the opening/implementation of the scheme.

The reason: The Finance Ministry is apparently concerned that if many experienced employees and officers opt for the ‘Second Innings Tap – Voluntary Retirement Scheme–2020 (SITVRS-2020)’, there would be a vacuum in key positions. This could have an impact on the functioning of the country’s largest bank. The Government is the promoter of SBI with majority shareholding of 57.63 per cent.

The VRS scheme was to open on December 1 and close on February 26, 2021.

An e-mail sent to the bank seeking comments on the development did not elicit any response at the time of writing this story. In the backdrop of bankers rendering uninterrupted service to customers despite the Covid-19 pandemic, the VRS scheme offered some of them (especially those over 50) an exit option in case their health was seriously affected by the coronavirus infection.

A posting faraway from where their family is based or those unable to cope with increased workload could be the other reasons for taking the VRS.

Post VRS, the possibility of taking up assignments closer home in a private sector banks, given that the Reserve Bank of India plans to grant licences to more such outfits, also looks attractive.

SITVRS-2020

SITVRS-2020 came in the backdrop of increased digitialisation and outsourcing.

As many as 30,190 employees would have been eligible — 11,565 officers (from the Junior Management Grade Scale – I to the Top Executive Grade Special Scale-I) and 18,625 award staff (clerical and sub-staff).

Per estimates based on July salary, the bank expected a net savings of ₹2,170.85 crore if 30 per cent of the eligible employees opted for the scheme. As of March-end, SBI had 2,49,448 employees on its rolls.

Published on December 14, 2020

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