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New Promotion Policy is Disheartening

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Danendra Jain


Officers in public sector banks in general are disheartened to see fresh guidelines issued by Ministry of Finance on 14th of this month to all public sector banks in relation to promotion process applicable for promoting officers from one scale to other in public sector banks I have been writing since long that as long as there is interview system or appraisal system, no one can guarantee justice for good officers and safety of health of banks. Officers of the rank of General Manager, Deputy General Manager, Asst General Manager ,Executive director and sometimes even Managing directors directly or indirectly have become wealthy by using promotion policy for their vested interest and it is they who have caused rise in bad assets. It is remarkable to mention here When top management cannot assess the quality of an officer in a span of five to 30 years of actual working of an officer in various branches and various administrative offices, how can they assess the same in 2 to 3 minutes of Interview. Obviously they use the Interview to pick officers of their choice not giving value to merit but to gift and flattery they expect to get in return . This is why, Flattery to top bosses and bribery to God father has become the easy tool to secure out of turn promotion. Promotion for ambitious officers and on the contrary for good performers, promotion has become a history. There are many such officers who have devotedly worked in various branches and whose work is always appreciated by seniors but they continue to remain in the scale for decades and always rejected in promotions. In fact securing promotion in banks has become a game of money and yesmanism as it is prevalent in government offices and in political circle. This is why quality of work has deteriorated in all offices in government sector .Health of banks is going from bad to worse year after year though by manipulation and fraudulent data top bankers are cheating regulators for years together. It is now that rating agencies have started downgrading rating of banks. Quantum of NPA in banks has gone beyond control despite all scrutiny, audit and meetings undertaken periodically and mandatorily by Team of Chartered Accountants, ministers and high level secretaries. For health culture it is necessary to create a sense of, confidence, timely career movement, judicious recognition of performance, and credibility among officers for healthy growth of any organization. I once again request all responsible officers and ministers to review promotion guidelines and adopt seniority based promotion as prevalent in central services to avoid whimsical and arbitrary promotions. This will create a sense of respectability among officers. During last 10 to 30 years top ranked officers have used, amended and manipulated promotion policy as per their whims and fancies. They are habituated to pick officer directly from campus in scale I to III, IV and V jeopardizing the future of existing 10 to 30 years experienced officers. Inexperienced officers by dint of their flattery and bribery culture become boss of experienced officers which ultimately results in frustration and demotivation. They have used policy guidelines issued by Government of India for rural posting to isolate and punish good officers who do not pay bribe and toe the line of bosses. They have reduced or relaxed minimum years of experience from minimum (in fact 10 to 15 years in seventies and eighties )years to 2 to 4 years as per their whims with a malicious intention to select officers of their caste, community, relative and region discarding the future of experienced officers.

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In conclusion I may say that top officials of banks have cheated many officers in the name of merit and fast rack promotion process and promoted evil culture in bank. Due to mischievous actions of top officials only, field officers are constrained think it better to flatter the boss than to think for the safety of bank and for customers.

Flattery and yesmanism prevalent in politics and IAS and IPS circle has also become a fashion in public sector banks. I reiterate until the system of interview and internal appraisal is in vogue, there is no hope that good culture and a sense of confidence among good officers will take place and none should dream that revised promotion guidelines will ever strengthen the root of banks. Government banks have to create strong and reliable Human Resource Team. Banks can prosper and customers can feel pleasure only when officers become loyal to bank and not to bosses. It is common among Indians to misuse powers delegated to them and hence it is desirable to adopt seniority based promotion as happens in case of IAS and IPS officers and for central services. It is possible in bank that a clerk joined in 70-80 became scale IV or V or VI but an officer who joined in the same period is still scale II or scale III.

Moreover powerful persons in all sphere of life give more value to person of their caste, community, region and religion. Justice cannot be expected from majority of powerful persons, exceptional dry honest and sincere persons are few who gives value to quality.

In eighties an officer could get an opportunity for promotion after 10 to 15 years but now banks are giving three to four promotions to officers who have joined bank in 1991 onwards and even after 2000.

Old officers cannot dream of promotions from scale II to III or III to IV because now a day bank directly pick officers in higher scales from campus where sons and daughters of top bankers are admitted and undergoing MBA education. There are hundreds of officers who have not got any promotion during last 20 years whereas there are many such flatterer officers who got three or four promotions in 10 years of service.

There are many officers who have acquired a good number of certificates by honesty or by foul means but they are not fit even for posting as Branch head or on any responsible post. But they are promoted. There are numerous officers who have been promoted despite the fact that serious charges of irregularities have been pending against them for inquiry and investigation.

There are thousands of such officers who have been working in only rural areas for twenty to thirty years but still banks seek relaxation in rural service. Why? It is because top officials want to promote officers of their choice who can manage WWW for them by hook or by crook but who has never worked in rural areas. If senior officer (interview panel) wants to promote an officer, he will do so by obtaining a declaration from the candidate. A few years ago government issued incentive scheme for officers posted in North East Area. Bank used this policy also to harass officers who failed to toe the line of boss. It is pity that even incentive are not given to such officers. As long as top officers are corrupt and ill motivated, there is no doubt all good policies are used for bad purpose and with bad intention. Management talk of Annual Appraisal report and want to give weightage to marks obtained in these reports. Unfortunately even these reports are manipulated and forged sheet of marks are allotted to officers who are choice of top ranked officers for promotion. Not only this, same officer is rated differently by different Regional Head when the same officer s posted at different branches in different states. There are some senior officers ( appraising authority) who use to give 90 to 98 marks to his subordinate in annual appraisal reports, some others give marks from 80 to 90 and some are more conservative who give marks below 80 for outsiders and higher for known persons. In fact the appraising authority in ninety percent of cases do not know how to write appraisal report, neither does he attach any importance to this. It is also true that even reviewing authority do not know how to review the annual appraisal report for his subordinate. As such any value given to marks obtained in annual appraisal reports in promotion processes does not lead to justice. It is not astonishing that even marks are given on the basis of caste, community, region and religion of the officer who is candidate for promotion or whose appraisal report is being written by appraiser If a north Indian is posted in south , his appraisal report may not be equal to or better than that of south Indians and vice versa..In my opinion marking given in annual appraisal reports has got no linkage with actual performance of the person who is assessed.

In India all decisions, perception and conception of bosses about me or you depend not on how I or you work but depends on what is his angle of consideration who is supposed to assess me or you. I or you may be good for one boss and worst for another boss. In such position it is always desirable that officers are promoted on the basis of seniority without any bias and favoritism. It is true that there are some disadvantages on introduction of purely seniority based promotion, it is undeniable bitter truth that keeping in view the mentality of top ranked officials in banks the merit and advantages of seniority based promotion is definitely more than that of so called merit or fast track channel based promotion. I therefore propose following alternative solution may be considered as a better option and not as a fool proof. Interview system in promotion should be stopped forthwith All officers in order of seniority should be promoted. Misuse of power / delegated authority is inevitable until judiciary become quick, effective and honest. When there is a fear of punishment from court , none in the country will dare follow corrupt ways and means. Unfortunately in India, corrupt officers do not fear court /police because they can force police / court to dance as per their whims and fancies by dint of their money power. It is only honest and innocent fear court and police because they know they can be tortured by police, court and higher bosses for any valid or invalid reason if they so like. We have seen the fate of whistle blowers, Ramdeo and Team Anna.

Many aggrieved officers have filed case in court but judgment does not come even after lapse of years and decades and management take advantage of it. Judiciary is not to provide justice but to perpetuate injustice in nexus with gang of manipulators. As many as ten writs are pending in various High Courts filed by PF Optees (bank officer aggrieved by 9th Bipartite Settlement) against injustice meted out to them through 9th Bipartite Settlement. It is pity that even Union Leaders supposed to protect the interest of officer members worked in nexus with management clearly stabbing union members from the back. None is reliable. This is India. Hence promotion by seniority as was prevalent in government banks in seventies should be reintroduced and direct recruitment in higher scale should be stopped. Interview should be confined only at the time of fresh recruitment of officers in bank and not for promotion. Policy applicable for promotion of IAS and IPS officers may also be followed. Seniority base promotion will at least allay all doubts arising in the mind of rejected officers and the system will act as transparent as possible .Officers who have not got promotion for years together will feel elevated and work devotedly for bank. As of now senior officers neither get annual increment due to stagnation nor do they get chance in promotion because young officers and corrupt officers have become the choice and preference of selecting body. If at all it is found that officers promoted to higher scale is not worth the post he may be given a few chance and finally kicked out of the bank and this decision should be taken by a team of at least eleven senior officers to avoid misuse of this power too. But in no case an officer should be deprived of his right of promotion only because he has got no Godfather. It is shocking to observe that government bank top officials pick up officer directly from campus in scale III or IV who has got not experience of banking b\whereas officers of 20 to 25 years experience with sound track record of performance are sidelined.