To assuage the fears of the employees about the Reserve Bank of India's restructuring proposal, governor Raghuram Rajan along with the deputy governors assured them that no outsider would be appointed to the post of the chief operating officer (COO). Rajan on Tuesday assured the staff that any lateral hiring would be done on a contractual basis.
Employees feared that recruitment of Nachiket Mor, who was rumoured to join RBI as COO, or talks of IMF economist Prachi Mishra getting in to the rank of a chief general manager, would impact the promotions of the existing staff.
A central banker said, "Deputy governors SS Mundra and R Gandhi and the top management met the employees for close to three hours. The unions are strongly opposing the restructuring plan proposed for the RBI as it involves lateral hires and setting up a post of COO, who may assume powers of a deputy governor."
As part of the restructuring process, there could be merger of certain cadres in the specialist and general cadres but will not result in loss of jobs. RBI restructuring proposals also include grouping of departments in order to avoid overlapping in functions. However, the unions are opposing the move as they foresee an impact on the staff promotions.
The proposals essentially revolved around bringing functional synergies in operations by grouping departments into clusters and also leveraging human resources to bring about greater professionalism and specialisation so as to enhance the effectiveness of the central bank's operations and policy making. The proposals involve professionalisation of HR functions in the RBI, including a more effective performance management system (PMS) and responsive and proactive skill and leadership development programmes.
All employees of RBI are members of the officers and employees unions. The total strength of the RBI unions put together is 17,000. Only the executive directors, deputy governors and governor are not members of the unions.
RBI in a release last week said that its board approved the broad contours of the proposals. The board advised the central bank to operationalise the restructuring, while taking into account the need to continuously keep communication channels open with stakeholders as the process moves forward.
The board had also asked the the central bank to initiate a dialogue with the government on the additional post of deputy governor and the legislative changes that would be needed.
Asked about the RBI's proposal on a COO, financial services secretary GS Sandhu, who is also on the RBI board, was quoted in New Delhi last week as saying, "RBI is reorganising internally. After that, if they think there is requirement of a COO, they will send the proposal and the finance ministry will take a view," making it clear that RBI move has been without a consent from the ministry.