The State Bank of India (SBI) on Monday said it proposes to recruit 14,000 employees during the current year and its ‘on tap VRS’ is not a cost-cutting exercise. The country’s largest lender has planned a voluntary retirement scheme (VRS) under which about 30,190 employees are eligible. The proposed VRS is not a cost-cutting exercise, an SBI spokesperson said in a statement.
The bank “has been employee-friendly and is expanding its operations and requires people, which is evidenced by the fact that Bank has plans of recruiting more than 14,000 employees this year”, the statement added. SBI has an existing workforce of around 2.50 lakh and it has been at the forefront of serving employee needs and assisting them in their life journey, it said.
“In this backdrop, it was thought to provide a congenial solution to employees who expressed the desire for making a strategic shift in their vocations, either due to professional growth limitations, mobility issues, physical health conditions or family situations,” the statement said.
The bank further said it is deeply desirous of skilling the unemployed youth of the country, “as is evidenced by the fact that we are the only bank in the country which has onboarded Apprentices under the National Apprenticeship Scheme of Government of India.”
As per the draft scheme, ‘Second Innings Tap VRS-2020’ will be opened to all permanent officers and staff who have put in 25 years of service or completed 55 years of age on the cut-off date.
Earlier on Monday, Congress leader P Chidambaram slammed the proposed VRS. “News reports say that SBI plans to implement a VRS scheme as an ‘economic 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,” Chidambaram tweeted.
If India’s biggest lender has to shed jobs, imagine what other big employers and MSMEs are doing, he added. “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 said.