May 11, 2014

TNUEF Ensures Social Justice In Pandyan Grama Bank


THE cry for reservation in the private sector is growing louder. Promises were made during the election campaign. But, the very fundamental question still remains. That is, whether the existing policy of reservation in government and public sector is being implemented in its true spirit or not. The experience shows it is not. A recent issue of denial of reservation in Pandiyan Grama Bank, which is a public sector bank, is a clear proof to the subtle practice of non-implementation. IBPS (Indian Banking Personnel Selection) is the organisation which is vested with the power of conducting tests for recruitment of officers and staff for the various banks. In some cases, the IBPS conducts both written test and interviews. For grama banks, it conducts only the written test and the banks themselves hold interviews. In the last year, the IBPS had conducted the written test for recruitment of officers and clerks in regional rural banks. The lists of passed candidates were released with their respective marks scored in the written test. The grama banks release separate notification for conduct of interviews. Likewise, the Pandyan Grama Bank also released the notification for recruitment of officers. All those who had passed the written test had applied.  SHOCKING CUT-OFF When the interview call letters were being sent, it was found that the cut-off marks set by the bank were in utter contempt of constitutionally mandated rights. The Pandyan Grama Bank has fixed the cut-off marks like this: General – 108; OBC – 123; SC – 112. This has shocked the young aspirants from the reserved categories. Pandyan Grama Bank Officers Union and Pandyan Grama Bank Employees Association have exposed this anti-reservation step. They submitted a letter in which they condemned the process and also insisted to postpone the interview. The utter callousness of the Bank's management was visible when the TNUEF (Tamilnadu Untouchability Eradication Front) approached them for clarification. They kept saying that this was decided after due consideration. They also said that they got a 'go-ahead' signal from its controlling bank, i.e., Indian Overseas Bank. The TNUEF along with PGBOU and PGBEA had decided to protest on May 2, 2014. A call for protest demonstration was given. Hundreds of posters exposing the anti-reservation stand of the bank management were released to make the public aware of it. By seeing the firm stand taken by these organisations, the management yielded and called for talks.  The TNUEF team was led by its state secretary Ganesh and Virudhunagar district secretary S Gnana Guru. On behalf of PGBOU, general secretary Sankaralingam, vice president Bose Pandian were there. And, J Mathavaraj, general secretary, PGBEA, V Rajendra Chozhan, general secretary, SC/ST Welfare Association, Balaji, general secretary, PGB Workers Union had also participated in the talks with the management. Even in the talks, the management of PGB kept talking of calling all the candidates those who have scored above 108. This showed their apathy towards the reserved category candidates. We had told the management that if the cut-off marks for general category is 108, the reserved category candidates who have scored more than 108 should also be included in general category due to the merit. And to fill up the reserved category vacancies, separate cut-off should be made, the TNUEF insisted.  REMARKABLE VICTORY The management of PGB had tried to put the blame on IBPS, by saying that they had only sent the list. The delegation of TNUEF and other organisations had categorically told them that the entire responsibility lies on the bank. Finally, it was decided that all the passed candidates would be called for interview. This is definitely a remarkable victory since the attitude of the bank was totally apathetic. TNUEF, PGBOU, PGBEA and other organisations have decided to monitor the interview process vigorously. MORE SKELETONS Many could not believe that such things can happen in the public sector banks; on the contrary this is what is happening in various recruitments. In the late 60s, the then Congress government which wanted to shore up its image, took a radical step of nationalising the banks. This action not only put the people's savings in a safer place, but also opened up a lot of employment opportunities. Lakhs of jobs were created. The manpower that was put into the banking industry is aged and is on the verge of retirement. Hence, the present generation has got an opportunity to fill those vacancies. The banks have come together and formed IBPS for conducting recruitment tests. In December 2011, the first written test was conducted by the IBPS. Since then, once in a year the test is conducted. The experience in the last three years showed that there are a lot of flaws in the recruitment. The TNUEF could intervene in the Indian Overseas Bank case in February 2013 and ensured additional intake by getting a list of 451 candidates. There are various flaws in the lists that were released by the IBPS in the last two years. Low scoring general category candidates could get the jobs whereas high scoring reserved category candidates are left out. A proper investigation will bring out more skeletons from its cupboard.  In the next two years, around two lakh vacancies are going to be filled up in the banking industry. It is time for all the progressive, democratic organisations to put the recruitment process on track to ensure proper social justice.