Public sector banks (PSBs) like the State Bank of India (SBI) and the Oriental Bank of Commerce (OBC) are planning to give festival gifts to their employees. Both lenders have announced a Diwali gift of sweets, dry fruits, chocolates for their employees worth Rs 1,000.
Bank authorities have issued instructions to distribute the Diwali gifts ahead of Diwali. The lenders have also instructed that cash should not be given as a gift in lieu of sweets, dry fruits, chocolates. 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.
As per an IANS report, OBC’s General Manager for Human Resources Development (HRD) Swarup Kumar Saha in a communication to all bank branches and other offices mentioned the improved financial performance of the bank during the second quarter of Financial Year2019-20.
It may be noted that OBC posted a net profit of Rs 126 crore logging a growth of 23.53 per cent year-on-year basis. The operating profit also increased by 20.99 per cent to Rs 1,176 crore. The report quoted the letter saying that the capital adequacy ratio and asset quality of the banks have improved and all these happened due to the committed efforts of the employees.
The OBC letter cited in the report also mentioned that the expenses incurred on Diwali gifts will be debited to the Charges General (Staff Welfare).
It is worth mentioning that while this is for the first time that Diwali gifts are given to the OBC staff, an officer association leader in SBI told the agency that this is the second year in a row that SBI is planning to give festive gifts to their staff members. When asked about whether non-Hindu employees can avail the gift at a later date, for instance, a Christian employee availing it during Christmas, the SBI union official refused to answer the question.
As per the report, for the SBI with an employee base of around 2,57,000, the total of the Diwali gifts will be around Rs 25.7 crore.
The report also mentioned that a union official questioned the logic of giving gifts only during Diwali by government banks especially where there are employees belonging to various religions.
Regarding this, DMK spokesperson and Member of Parliament T.K.S. Elangovan was quoted in the report saying, “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.”