Money & Banking

SBI officers, staff brace for rush to claim Covid-19 doles

Vinson Kurian Thiruvananthapuram | Updated on March 29, 2020 Published on March 29, 2020

File photo   -  Bloomberg

Social distancing could become casualty, fear unions

Employees and management of State Bank of India are gearing to handle the expected rush of customers to claim the Covid-19 entitlements announced by the Centre and State governments as part of their economic packages.

The first week of the new financial year starting tomorrow (Monday), which is first of the month as well when these doles fall due for claim, could test the banking system’s capacity amid concerns over maintaining social distancing in order to prevent incremental infections.

The pressure will be more intense in the rural and semi-rural branches, says Raghavan A, General Secretary, State Bank Staff Union (SBSU), Kerala Circle. The employee numbers are few in those branches, and it could become a tough proposition for them to handle the rush.

Customers in those areas cannot be faulted either, since bank branches could be the only avenue to receive their benefits. But the flip side is that the concept of social distancing could become a casualty, about which many employees have expressed concern, employee union leaders said.

Tips to control crowding

A joint appeal signed by S Radhakrishnan, Deputy General Manager, SBI; Gopakumar V, General Secretary SBI Officers Association; and Rajath HC, Deputy General Secretary, SBI Staff Union, Kerala Circle, said that in addition to regular salary and pension payments, financial assistance offered by the Central and State governments also are expected to be credited to the accounts of beneficiaries by the end of this week.

In order to control the gatherings/crowd around SBI branches, they put forward some suggestions for adoption. Branches may take the help of the local ward member, panchayat heads, local police, for regulating the crowd and maintaining social distancing. An enquiry counter may be opened at the entrance to restrict the crowd. One staff/officer may be assigned to receive the cheque/withdrawal slip along with passbook and issue paper token with serial number, date, and round seal of the branch at the enquiry counter.

The serial number of the token may be noted in the cheque/withdrawal slip and may be sent to the counter for posting and disbursal of cash. The passbook, along with cash, cheque/withdrawal slip may be sent to the official/staff at the entrance for disposal to the customer after obtaining the token. The branch may also consider setting up a shelter/shamiana for customers waiting outside, to the extent possible.

Published on March 29, 2020

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