In the past, around 30 years ago, an interesting development took place in the banking sector. Computers made their debut, bringing a wave of change. Surprisingly, this transformation wasn’t limited to banking but had previously been tried in the railway sector before finding its place in banking.
At that time, worker unions were worried about the effects of computers on jobs. They were concerned that these technological advancements might lead to job losses. To address these concerns, there were discussions between the government and unions to find common ground.
After many talks and negotiations, an important decision was made. Unions recognized the importance of computerization and embraced it. As part of this decision, a unique concept emerged – an advance increment for all banking positions. This idea became a part of a broader agreement reached in 1988. Fast forward to today, this concept became a reality for employees in Nationalized Banks, recognizing the significance of computerization. However, Regional Rural Banks (RRBs) faced a different situation. Legal battles spanning three decades resulted in RRB employees missing out on this increment.
The story of computer increment in banking underscores how progress unfolds – a mix of technological advancements, negotiations, and a commitment to fairness across different banking sectors. As this historical chapter concludes, it introduces a new phase of recognition and rewards for the dedicated individuals in Regional Rural Banks.
A recent breakthrough in this narrative has occurred. Starting from April 1, 2018, workers in Regional Rural Banks will finally receive extra pay for using computers. This is a positive development that not only benefits current employees but also acknowledges their efforts in the past. The extra pay for computer usage in RRBs will begin from the same date as the pension scheme – April 1, 2018. However, the banks need permission from the Board of Directors and must inform the Department of Financial Services and the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development before implementing this pay increase. This decision holds significance because it bridges the gap between RRB employees and those in nationalized banks who have been receiving a similar pay increase for years. Though it took time to reach this decision, it’s a step towards fairness and equality for RRB employees. This change respects their contributions and grants them the rightful pay increment they deserve.
In a recent case (Contempt Petition CCC 76/2020) related to the computer increment issue, a hearing was scheduled for August 11, 2023, before the Karnataka High Court. During the hearing, the Deputy Solicitor General presented a memorandum. This memorandum stated that the Government of India, in response to a court order, advised 37 RRBs to provide the computer increment to eligible employees from April 1, 2018. However, objections were raised, citing a settlement from 1993 that indicated the increment should have been implemented from November 1, 1993. The court allowed for objections to be filed and postponed proceedings for two weeks.
The decision to introduce a computer increment for RRB employees starting from April 1, 2018, is a significant step. Its retrospective application shows a commitment to recognizing and rewarding the hard work of RRB personnel. This is achieved through proper authorization and adherence to relevant guidelines from DFS and NABARD. The journey towards fairness continues, bringing positive change for RRB employees who have long awaited this transformation.