The Finance Ministry has informed the Committee on Empowerment of Women, headed by BJP leader Bijoya Chakravarty, that public sector banks (PSBs) are exploring the feasibility of opening more all-women branches. The committee has noted in its latest report that “not a single public sector bank” had so far designated 15 percent of its branches as all–women branches, as recommended by it last year.
At present, 17 banks have a total of 301 such branches so far, led by State Bank of India with 119 branches and Indian Overseas Bank with 60 all-women branches,
The committee, which presented its seventh report to Parliament on Wednesday, while lauding the banks for exploring the feasibility of more such branches, also noted that “precious little” had been done.
Banks need to hasten the process to cater to multiple needs of women customers and provide a “more safe and convenient” working environment, it added.
The panel, which had also recommended flexihours for women bank staff, said it was “perturbed” by SBI’s submission that this was “unfeasible,” adding that flexihours would allow women to strike a balance between professional and family responsibilities and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
It expressed unhappiness with the ministry citing a host of operational issues as reasons for going slow on it and said the government had failed to grasp the essence of this recommendation.
Flexi-hours for women bank employees was all the more doable now, “owing to increasing dependence on network-based systems where the physical presence of service provider and customers under one roof need not always be a pre-requisite to transact deals”, it added.