Long queues at PSBs likely after level 1 job freeze

New Delhi, July 30 | Updated: Jul 31 2006, 05:30am hrs
Waiting time for customers in the public sector banks (PSBs) may increase in the next one or two years. PSBs, which have embarked on an aggressive expansion drive, may face staff shortage in the near future, with more than 50,000 employees at the counter level having being promoted in past three years, freezing recruitment at the first level.

Trade unions have said that while banks were going in for computerisation and core banking solutions, the trouble was far from being over. Official sources said there had been a major human resource drive to incentivise employees.

Though most transactions take place through ATMs, staff is required to handle queries and even for limited cash transaction for account holders, All India Bank Employees Association secretary CH Venkatachalam said. He added that inspite of computerisation, there was acute shortage of manpower due to the aggressive expansion drive, especially in semi-urban and rural areas.

Most banks have announced plans to increase branch network in the country. A senior government official, however, said that bank managements were free to recruit if they felt the need. Unions also said that compassionate recruitment has been stopped.

According to estimates, there are one lakh vacancies in PSBs. In addition, bank employees have strongly opposed the RBI decision to outsource banking activities. The employees called for a one-day strike last week to register their protest on the issue.

Venkatachalam said that the unions would keep up the pressure on the government and bank managements to start recruitment to fill the gap.

Outsourcing has been allowed to cut cost and reduce manpower but this can not be the answer. It can lead to serious problems and frauds in the future, he said.