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Why Sebi, staffers are at loggerheads

October 19, 2018 21:46 IST

Employees allege breach of transfer policy, accuses HR of non-transparency; protests to resume on October 22

Dissatisfaction has risen among staffers at the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) at recent transfer orders and the policy in this regard.

 

A letter on Wednesday from the Sebi Employee Association (SEA) to chairman Ajay Tyagi says the staffers “are collectively feeling let down”.

An email from Business Standard to the Sebi management was not answered.

According to sources, the human resource (HR) department had on Monday issued transfer orders for about 80 people, a tenth of the total staff strength at the markets regulator.

That was a sequel to an SEA protest on promotion policy, beside opposition to an order of October 4 for the transfer of Manoj Kumar, chief general manger and president of SEA.

In the letter to the chairman, the SEA cited a circular on the transfer policy, dated August 22 last year.

It has said this policy is being breached. According to this, the management had to seek the preference of an officer before issuing a transfer order, especially when the move was from the Mumbai headquarters to a regional office.

In this case, Kumar was being transferred to Delhi as a regional director, without seeking his preference.

Kumar is also investigative officer in the NSE co-location matter.

The 80 other officials, too, are being transferred for protesting against Sebi’s new promotion policy, issued via a circular dated September 27, said a source.

The new policy has reportedly raised the minimum service requirement for a promotion from three to five years.

“An oral assurance was given that the circular shall be kept in abeyance and certain changes made in the policy.

"However, an order for personal promotion was issued in terms of the new policy.

"This has led to apprehension that the oral assurance is not being followed and the HR department has started implementing the said circular,”the  SEA said in the letter to the chairman.

The letter also criticises the performance review process.

“Promotions have been made on the basis of PAR (performance appraisal review), which have been normalised by the HRD.

"The normalisation process is against all established principles of assessment of performance, as performance is being rated by someone who has no supervisiory role over the officer and has, thus, no capacity to assess his/her performance,” goes their letter.

The employee association has also raised the issue of appointment of external executive directors (EDs) in the letter. Last year in April, the SEA had sought a review of the rule on EDs appointment, asking that half be taken from within Sebi.

Accordingly, Sebi changed the rule and decided to increase the number of EDs to nine, from eight. Six of them would be staffers and the rest hired laterally or on deputation.

However, protests the SEA, “recently, two advertisements have been issued for the post of ED on contract basis, contrary to the proportion being followed for the appointment of three external and six internal EDs”.

“The issues raised indicate the HR department is taking actions against established policy and rules in a non-transparent manner and oral assurance by HR on employees are not being followed.

"Because of this, employees are collectively feeling let down and would resume their protest from October 22 onwards,” SEA added.

Photograph: Shailesh Andrade/Reuters

Shrimi Choudhary in Mumbai
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