CHENNAI : Public sector banks (PSBs) here like the State Bank of India (SBI) and the Oriental Bank of Commerce (OBC) are planning to give festival gifts to their employees.
The two banks have announced a Diwali gift of sweets/dry fruits/chocolates for their staff worth ₹1,000.
The competent authority in these two banks have issued instructions to distribute the Diwali gifts well ahead of the festival and that cash should not be given as gift in lieu of sweets/dry fruits/chocolates.
The SBI has instructed that the expenditure will be debited to the accounts of the respective offices and then appropriated from the Staff Welfare Fund for the year 2019-20, if and when allocated.
The OBC’s General Manager for Human Resources Development Swarup Kumar Saha in a communication to all the branches and other offices cited the improved financial performance of the bank during the second quarter of 2019-20.
The OBC had posted a net profit of ₹126 crore logging a growth of 23.53 per cent year-on-year. The operating profit has also increased by 20.99 per cent to ₹1,176 crore.
The letter also said that the capital adequacy ratio and the asset quality of the banks have also improved and all these happened due to committed efforts of the staff members.
The expenses incurred on Diwali gifts will be debited to the Charges General (Staff Welfare), the OBC letter said.
While this is for the first time that Diwali gifts are given to the OBC staff, an officer association leader in SBI told IANS that it is for the second year in a row that the bank is planning to give festive gifts to their staff members.
When queried whether there is an option for non-Hindu employees to avail of the gift at a later date, for instance a Christian employee availing it during Christmas, the SBI union official refused to answer the question.
For the SBI with an employee base of about 257,000, the outgo towards Diwali gifts would be about ₹25.7 crore.
A union official questioned the logic of giving gifts only during Diwali, that too by government banks where there are employees belonging to various faiths.
In this connection, DMK spokesperson and Member of Parliament T.K.S. Elangovan told IANS: “These banks are owned by the government of India where people of different religions work. The employees should be given the option of choosing the festival for which he would accept the gift.”