Payments under the heads such as medical aid, leave fare concession and transfer allowance form important part of their earnings but the government said it would review it before taking a final decision, making a sizeable chunk of bank employees unhappy. India has over 10 lakh bankers across the spectrum.
"The `other allowances' are under examination of the government and the same will be conveyed in due course," the ministry of finance said in a note to chairmen of RRBs. The government owns 50 per cent in all RRBs.
RRBs with their 20,000-odd branch network collectively enjoy a better penetration in the villages than many other mainstream commercial banks and therefore are better equipped to serve the small and marginal farmers and poor artisans.
Conventionally, RRB follows the pay structure of that of the nationalised banks. According to the 10th bipartite wage settlement, there is a 15 per cent rise in salaries across the board, effective from November 2012. Medical aid, leave fare concession are part of what nationalised bank employees would get, according to All India Bank Employees Association President Rajen Nagar.
"The government order is a denial of parity," said A Sayeed Khan, secretary general in All India Regional Rural Bank Employees Association. "This is contrary to the judicial pronouncements by the Supreme Court."
Pay scales and dearness allowance of RRB employees however will be equal to the corresponding categories of employees in state-run banks. State-run banks sponsor RRBs with 35 per cent interest and the balance 15 per cent is held by respective state governments.
The Regional Rural Bank (Amendment) Act, 2015 has proposed to dilute the ownership pattern and allowed private entities to hold shares in these banks. However, the combined shareholding of the government, sponsor banks will not go below 51 per cent.
"We are also concerned about the non-introduction of compassionate appointment scheme in RRBs, though the same has been reinstated in commercial banks vide government order dated of August 5, 2014," Khan told ET.
The employee associations have also demanded parity of pension with state-run bank structure which would benefit about 12,000 retired RRB staff.