State Bank of India (SBI), the country’s largest bank, has planned a voluntary retirement scheme (VRS) to optimise human resources and the costs of the bank. At least 30,190 employees will be eligible for VRS and the largest lender might lay off these employees, according to the report by PTI.
A draft scheme for VRS has been prepared and board approval is awaited, the news agency PTI reported.
The employee strength of SBI stood at about 2.49 lakh at the end of March 2020 as compared to 2.57 lakh a year ago. All permanent officers and staff who have put 25 years of service or completed 55 years of age on the cut-off date will eligible for the scheme.
It will be open on 1 December and will remain open till the end of February. The applications for VRS will be accepted during this period only, the draft mentioned.
A staff member retired under the scheme will be eligible for engagement or re-employment in the bank after a cooling-off period of two years from the date of retirement, the bank added.
The scheme will open on December 1 and will remain open till the end of February, it said, adding that applications for VRS will be accepted during this period only. The total net savings for the bank would be Rs 1,662.86 crore if 30% of eligible employees opt for retirement under the scheme, as per estimates based on July 2020 salary, it said.
Other benefits like gratuity, pension, provident and medical benefits will be given to employees seeking VRS.
Congress leader P Chidambaram on Monday slammed the reported SBI plan to implement a VRS at a time when the economy has collapsed and called it cruel.
“News reports say that SBI plans to implement a VRS scheme as an “economy measure”. In normal times the plan would be debatable. In these abnormal times, when the economy has collapsed and jobs are scarce, it is cruel,” P Chidambaram tweeted.
“If India’s biggest lender has to shed jobs, imagine what other big employers and MSMEs are doing. The plan is ostensibly voluntary but we know that subtle pressure will be brought on the employees that the Bank wants to get rid of. If the current rules provide for genuine voluntary retirement, why announce a new plan and give out an exact number like 30,190?” he added.