The banks central office has appealed to the clerks and subordinate staff to take inter-circle transfers to beef up the activities of the laggard circles. However, a number of circles have expressed their unwillingness to grant such inter-circle transfers.
In a recent circular, SBIs national banking division has requested employees in the clerical cadre to take transfers to the Kerala circle. In the circular number NBG:P&HRD:IR:CIR:64 and dated September 27, 2002, the circle-heads or the chief general managers have been asked to immediately forward all the applications for transfer to the Kerala circle to the central office by October 31, 2002.
The SBI management has promised that such transfers will not be treated as transfers on request.
Highly placed SBI sources told FE that the management has issued such a circular following the immense shortage of staff in the Kerala circle after the voluntary retirement scheme (VRS) floated by SBI last year.
The current staff strength of SBIs Kerala circle is 5,425, out of which 1,400 are officers, 2,907 are clerks and 1,118 are subordinate staff. The circle had 5,895 employees prior to the VRS last year. Out of the 467 employees of the Kerala Circle leaving through the VRS, 250 were officers, 171 were clerks and 46 were subordinate staff.
The total number of branches in the Kerala Circle including the local head office and regional office, stands at 236. However, sources said, despite the circular from the banks central office, a number of circle-heads or chief general managers are unwilling to allow such inter-circle transfers.
These circle-heads are of the opinion that allowing such inter-circle transfers will result in shortage of staff in their own respective circles, a senior SBI official said. In fact, the Ahmedabad circle has already taken a decision not to allow any inter-circle transfer to any of its employees. Incidentally, in last years VRS the Ahmedabad Circle lost 1,437 employees out of which 358 were officers, 867 were clerks and 212 were subordinate staff.
When contacted, the SBI Staff Association general secretary, Ashoke Kumar Dutta, said that unplanned VRS by the SBI management was the main reason for the current crisis.
While all other public sector commercial banks have floated the VRS after thorough manpower planning, SBI appointed National Institute of Banking Management to review the banks manpower management system after 21,329 employees have the left the bank through the VRS, he said.