As new coronavirus cases surge every passing day with reports of banking employees also testing positive coming in, Voice of Banking, an organisation working for the welfare of banking employees, has urged the government to limit the services at physical branches to essential services only.
Noting that over 40 bank employees have lost their lives due to the pandemic, the organisation's Secretary, Ashwani Rana, in a letter to the Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, said that bank staff should be treated as "Covid warriors" and the Rs 50 lakh insurance cover offered to health workers should also be extended to them.
"Like other Corona warriors, the bank employees should also be treated as Corona warriors and banks should provide them 50 lakh insurance cover. During this period, more than 40 bank employees have lost their lives due to Covid-19. Family members of these deceased employees should be compensated with financial help and a job should be given to their dependents," said the letter
Rana also alleged that although public sector banks (PSB) have allowed exemptions from attending branches during lockdown period and also during the "unlock" to employees at high risk, including those pregnant and disabled, permitting them to avail 'Special Leave' without loss of pay, "many local bank management officials are forcing these employees to attend branches".
The letter, which has been marked to the Indian Banks Association and the Secretary of Department of Financial Services, said that although banks have deferred proposed transfer orders to be issued, they have not deferred or cancelled orders already issued which are also in large numbers.
"The implementation of such transfers would attract a lot of expenditure such as transfer allowance, transportation charges and other related expenses, which would nullify the government's guidelines to the banks to reduce 20 per cent avoidable expenditure. By deferring these orders, banks can save crores of rupees," it said.
Voice of Banking has suggested that banks should hold the transfers in abeyance till next year and post the employees locally or nearby.