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RBI asks banks to beef up wage hike, pension provisioning

The central bank's move comes as the next wage revision kicks in from November

Manojit Saha  |  Mumbai 

The decision on increase in wages and pensions in is more than a year away, but the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has already asked to start making adequate provisioning. That’s because will have to pay arrears from November 2012, even though the Association has informed that an agreement with unions on wage revision will be reached by March 2014.

The banking regulator told bankers at the post-monetary policy meeting that it would take a “very serious view” if are found making lower provisioning during the annual financial inspection report. RBI’s next round of annual inspection report will start from April 2013, in which the wage and pension provision figures will be examined. The last wage revision for 800,000 bank employees (7,00,000 from and 100,000 from old private sector banks) was effective till October 31, 2012; so any new agreement will have to be effective from November 1, 2012 and will have to pay arrears.

The additional burden on during the ninth bipartite agreement was Rs 4,816 crore for wage revision on account for a 17.5 per cent and Rs 5,000 crore for pension.

PROVISIONING POINTS
  • The Association has informed that an agreement with unions on wage revision will be reached by March 2014
     
  • has said it would take a “very serious view” if are found making lower provisioning during the annual financial inspection
     
  • The provisioning for the next round of will reflect in banks’ balance sheet when they finalise the fourth quarter results

The provisioning for the next round of will reflect in banks’ balance sheet when they finalise the fourth quarter results.

has said that should start making provisioning from the current quarter (January-March) in order to even out the burden. The regulator’s message also comes in the background of the country’s largest lender, the (SBI), deferring the requirement of the ninth bipartite agreement. SBI finally had to make a provision of close to Rs 8,000 crore from its capital reserves in the January-March quarter of 2010-11.

This had depleted the capital adequacy ratio of the bank. are not allowed to make provision from capital reserves, without taking prior approval from

According to bankers who attended the meeting, the central bank has also asked to have some uniformity in the parameters while deciding on the provisioning requirement. “Parameters like discount rate, wage escalation, and return on investment should not vary widely among banks,” said a banker.

“In case, fail to take a decision on a uniformity. will mandate the requirements,” he added.

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