RBI officers unhappy with new promotion policy, seek return to old system

Reserve Bank of India | File Photo
The Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) new promotion policy has stirred up a hornet’s nest among officers demanding the central bank reverts back to the old system of cut-off for promotions under its new governor. 

The central bank has grades A to F in its officer pecking order. While A is the assistant, F is the chief general manager. The latest stir and cut-off pertains to ranks up to E.

From rank A to rank B, promotion is strictly merit based; from B to C, it is automatic; C to D and D to E are automatic, but with a bell curve cut-off.

Earlier, the cut-off was 10 per cent of the bottom rung and was mostly based on leaves, availability at work, and reports of bosses. Under the new policy, the bottom 25 per cent who won’t get the promotion.

So now, only 75 per cent of the officers with a particular rank would be promoted, while it was 90 per cent earlier.  

This promotion policy, instituted under former governor Urjit Patel, is one of the first challenges that new governor Shaktikanta Das would face at RBI, as the officers demand immediate revocation of the order.

The order came on Friday last week, and the officers wanted to meet the new governor, but Das was busy with the RBI board meeting and the L K Jha memorial lecture.

However, on Tuesday, agitated officers demanded to meet the new governor and other senior officials.

“The new performance appraisal system is unfair. The point of a bell curve and higher cut-off is that you need to increase the frequency of promotions, but that is not the case at RBI. The promotions fall due after a specific long period,” said an officer at the central bank.

Level B gets promoted automatically to C after seven years, C to D and D to E promotions happen after five years.

However, another senior official said that higher cut-off is justified.

“Promoting 90 per cent of the people to general manager level makes the organisation top-heavy, which should not be the case,” said the senior official.

In any case, it would be challenging for the new governor to take a call on the matter, as reversing the decision taken under the former governor would be challenging for him, but if the order is not revised, Das could soon become unpopular with the employees. 

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