THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The decision of State Bank of India (SBI) to suspend the revised guidelines for recruitment of pregnant women candidates on Saturday rekindled memories of a similar fiasco that the bank had been in 12 years ago. Decades-old norms for recruitment and promotion that had discriminated against women were revised by the bank in 2009 following a public outcry in which the then Kerala CM V S Achuthanandan and the then CPM state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan joined in the front.
The State Bank of India’s revised guidelines for employment, circulated on January 12, 2022, contained several clauses that were expunged in 2009 after the management agreed to the criticism that those were discriminatory against women. The January 12 guidelines stated that a woman candidate who is more than three months pregnant will be considered temporarily unfit and she “may be allowed to join within four months after the delivery of the child”.
The controversial circular was kept in abeyance on Saturday in view of ‘public sentiments’. “The revised guidelines were intended to provide clarity on various health parameters where instructions were not clear or were very old. In some sections of the media, the revision in norms in this regard has been interpreted as discriminatory against women,” SBI said in a press note.
In October, 2009, the public sector bank issued an order rectifying the portions in medical report of women candidates that had been pointed out by activists and political leaders as ‘prejudiced against women’.
Mahila Cong cancels protest march
T’Puram: With the SBI deciding to cancel its controversial order banning the appointment of pregnant women, the Mahila Congress leadership has called off its protest march to SBI chief general manager office here scheduled on Monday. State Mahila Congress president Jebi Mather told TNIE that she had written to Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitaraman against the bank’s gesture which was promoting foeticide.