Parl panel expresses displeasure over no SC/ST director in SBI board, calls for their representation

New Delhi: A parliamentary standing committee has expressed its displeasure that there is no SC or ST member in the Board of Directors of the State Bank of India, noting that their representation must be provided in order to adequately safeguard their interests.

The standing parliamentary committee report was tabled in the Lok Sabha on Monday.

The committee which looked into the welfare of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes recommended that the matter may be taken up at a higher level to frame proper guidelines for due representation of eligible SC and ST members on the Board of Directors.

"For the purpose, the committee also recommends for concession/relaxation, if any required, for the purpose," the panel said.

"The committee expresses its displeasure over the fact that at present there is no SC/ST director in the Board of Directors of the SBI. The committee desperately feels that SC and ST representation in the Board of Directors must be provided in order to adequately safeguard the interests of SC/ST employees in the SBI," it said.

The committee also said it is "dismayed" to note that the State Bank of India, being the biggest nationalized bank in India, has no separate schemes for SCs/STs which constitute one-third of the country's population.

"The annexures provided by the bank indicate the percentage of share of SCs/STs in various schemes under the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises(MSMEs) is very dismal. The share of SCs/STs ranges from 2 to 5 per cent and so on of the overall disbursal of loans under various schemes," it said.

"It is really a sorry state of affairs, whereby, the most vulnerable sections of the society get the smallest share of development as compared to their population and requirements. The committee, therefore, strongly recommended that the SBI should significantly improve its performance in lending to SCs and STs under all such public sector schemes so that a large volume of vulnerable parts of the society can be empowered financially and can contribute to GDP in India," the panel said.

The committee observes that the State Bank of India is the oldest commercial bank in the Indian sub-continent and out of a total strength of 2,43,330 employees, the percentage of SCs is 18.27 and of STs is 7.98.

"The committee is happy to note that the percentage of SC/ST employees in the bank is in conformity with DoPT guidelines for reservation. The committee, while analyzing the recruitment details given by the SBI, appreciates the fact that since the year 2016-17 till 2020, the bank has been able to fill all backlog vacancies which had been carried forward through the years. However, at the same time, the committee is concerned to note that there are still 44 SC and 37 ST vacancies in different grades which remain to be filled," it said.

The committee said it recommends that these vacancies also should be filled at the earliest by the bank since the clerical or PO grades act as feeder grades for promotion to top managerial posts.

The panel also observed that a very high percentage of loan applications of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes are rejected.

"The main reason being non-availability of relevant documents, high illiteracy, hesitancy on part of rural folk to approach the bank. The committee, therefore, recommend that rural folk need to be apprised of the various credit facilities given by the bank and as far as possible their applications should not be rejected on small and flimsy grounds," it said.

The committee said the processing time should be minimised and stress should not be laid on too many documents and paperwork.

"The committee recommends that poverty-stricken SC/ST rural folk need the much needed financial impetus by the bank for growth and development and, hence, their loan applications should, as far as possible, be approved by calling the applicant and rectifying the deformities in the documents on the spot. A proper guideline to this effect may be formulated," it said. (PTI)

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