IOB-like job scam bound to happen in banking industry: Union officials
Chennai, Dec 6 (IANS): The alleged job scam in the Indian Overseas Bank (IOB) was bound to happen in the banking industry as such nationalised institutions have been engaging temporary hands across the country without any systematic recruitment, say senior union officials.
The union officials said an equal or higher share of blame should be laid at the doors of the bank management for such occurrences.
"Even as the banks expanded their branch network there was no systematic recruitment of messengers. Bank branches hired local hands and paid them under the miscellaneous expenses head," C.H. Venkatachalam, general secretary of the All India Bank Employees' Association (AIEBA), told IANS.
A senior official in IOB preferring anonymity said: "While recruitment of clerks is happening now, for more than 10 years there was a blanket ban on hiring and banks had hired clerical apprentices at a pittance. The banks have expanded their branch network but did not hire messengers and sweepers."
He said it is common knowledge that every bank branch needs at least one messenger and a sweeper. With the ban on hiring, bank managements allowed branch managers to hire local hands on an arbitrary basis, he added.
"Even the vigilance or the internal auditors did not raise any queries as to who performs the messenger and sweeper services in bank branches and how they are paid," he said.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) arrested L. Balasubramanian, the president of the All India Overseas Bank Employees Union (AIOBEU), Dec 4 in connection with the scam in recruitment of 950 temporary messengers and sweepers in IOB.
According to CBI, all the regional secretaries, vice president and general secretary of AIOBEU and a few bank officials were arrested recently in connection with the case.
The CBI alleged that Balasubramanian, who was the kingpin of the IOB job scam, was instrumental in formulating the permanent absorption scheme to extract illegal gratification from the candidates over a period of time.
According to banking industry union officials, IOB decided to regularise the temporary messengers and sweepers as they were working in the bank for a long time.
"The unions will always demand absorption of existing persons than hiring an outsider. But one should look at the root cause," a banker told IANS.
According to Venkatachalam, there would not have been any scope for a scam had the banks systematically hired people through government employment exchanges or through newspaper advertisements.
"If the number of vacancies in IOB alone is 950 then similar numbers will be there in other nationalised banks," he said.
"Permanent vacancies should be filled by permanent employees only and not by temporary hands whose names may not be on the bank's rolls," Venkatachalam said.
According to a senior official in IOB, there should be a human resource (HR) audit in all the banks. "Had there been an HR audit then all the adhoc appointments and scams would not have happened," he said.