RBI officers seek Shaktikanta’s intervention into new cadre issue, promotions, appraisals

Mumbai: Reserve Bank of India (RBI) officers have sought the intervention of governor Shaktikanta Das in revisiting the decision to create a specialised supervisory and regulatory cadre (SSRC) and into a host of other issues like appraisals and promotions.

In a letter to Das on 25 June, the Reserve Bank of India Officers’ Association (RBIOA) wrote that the formation of the new cadre did not find takers because it was prepared “without detailed study, lacked clarity, vision and experience in administration”. The central bank, the letter said, has consistently ignored officer community in recent years and they have hardly engaged RBIOA for any discussion to find a right solution for the problem in hand. Mint has reviewed a copy of the letter.

The association said that allowing separate seniority in the form of SSRC will adversely impact RBI in the long run. The RBI, it cautioned, will lose the benefit of drawing upon from the wider pool of talented officials for its supervisory or regulatory functions.

“At the same time the officers in the cadre would lack the exposure in other area, therefore, there is an urgent need to review the decision related to SSRC,” it said.

In May 2019, RBI had said it will create a specialised supervisory and regulatory cadre. However, reports earlier this year indicated that the scheme found few takers.

The officers’ association has also requested the governor to revamp the existing performance appraisal system. The letter said that the Bell Curve-based system has led to forced banding of officers since certain percentage of officers have to be invariably considered as high performers or under performers. This system was introduced in the central bank during erstwhile governor Raghuram Rajan’s tenure and has been a bone of contention.

The association reasoned that since RBI as an organisation performs several functions and each department varies in its mandate and work requirement, it is difficult to quantify the output since the work involved is not target-based.

“This brings in a feeling of bias or injustice among employees when forced banding is applied to normally distribute the performance,” it said.

According to the letter, informal discussions by officers with their appraisers and reviewers have revealed that they find it difficult to objectively rate the performance of officers.

“Incidentally, appraisal for the period July 2018 to June 2019 has been completed only in February 2020. It is difficult to fathom if the delayed appraisals reflect the actual performance of officers after a lag of one year,” it said.

With regard to the promotion policy, the association said, there is a stringent filtration process being carried out in the name of time-bound promotion (TBP) by not promoting 25% of the officers under the zone of consideration.

Further, while reckoning the zone of consideration, the letter said, around 10% of officers are excluded and therefore effectively around 35% of officers are not being promoted. The time-bound promotion (TBP) policy was introduced on 16 March 2012 and since its introduction, has been modified several times. In year 2018 alone, the promotion policy was changed twice, the letter noted.

“Moreover, this filtration is solely based on already questionable appraisal system of forced banding, thereby turning promotion process into a nightmare,” it said.

The association said that frequent changes without involving the stakeholders has become a recent trend in the central bank. “Earlier, human resources (HR) always used to engage with us at least to know the pulse but off late, this has not been the case which has demoralized the entire workforce of the bank,” it said.

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[Source: live Mint]

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