All India Regional Rural Bank Officers’ Federation (AIRRBOF)

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All India Regional Rural Bank Officers’ Federation (AIRRBOF), popularly known as AIRRBOF, has completed its meaningful functioning of more than 30 years. Founded in 1987 at Ranchi, hill capital of the then Bihar State, AIRRBOF emerged over the period of 30 years as the largest and overwhelmingly acknowledged as the principal bargaining agent of 47000 officers working in 56 RRBs all over the country.

The emergence of AIRRBOF and the resurgence of RRBs are always in close synergies. The phenomenal growth of RRBs, their consolidation and acknowledgement as the best suited banking network in the semi urban and rural areas was made possible by the consistent, motivated and dedicated cadres of AIRRBOF. Then prevalent anarchy, indiscipline and aversion to work in the 1980’s were replaced by cohesiveness, coherent activities and camaraderie due to unstinted efforts by the leadership of AIRRBOF.

AIRRBOF is the affiliated body of All India Bank Officers' Confederation (AIBOC) which is the overwhelming majority organisation of the officers in the Banking Sector. AIBOC always advocated Nation First, Organisation Next and Individual Last. AIRRBOF vowed to translate the philosophy into practice. AIBOC & AIRRBOF believes that RRBs are part of Public Sector Banking Industry and should be integrated by way of transfer of total ownership of RRBs to the respective Sponsor Banks. The Foundation Conference of AIBOC held in New Delhi in 1985 and that of AIRRBOF at Ranchi in 1987 resolved to ensure untiring efforts in achievement of complete parity in salary, allowances & terminal benefits between RRBs and Sponsor Banks.

Regional Rural Banks (RRBs) established under RRB Act, 1976 did yeomen's service in the economic upliftment of the people living below poverty line. The officers played key role in the pioneering work of the Bank. RRBs cover 652 districts having branch network of 21398 RRBs employ 48050 officers, 38505 other staff making it a total of 86555 staff. Officers in RRBs have to undertake, unlike the Commercial Banks, all kinds of work to keep the wheels of development moving. The total customer base of the RRBs comprises of over 3 Crore of customers having deposit and above 2 Crore of customers having Loan Account making it a total of over 5 Crore. The total deposit of RRBs as on 31st March, 2017 stood at 371842 crore and loan business at 228598 crore making it a total business of 600440 Crore. The total profit of RRBs was Rs. 4096.63 crores as on 31.03.2017 as against Rs. 2744 crores as on 31.03.2016. Only 6 RRBs are having losses located mostly in the North Eastern States & Jammu & Kashmir. The gross NPA of RRBs, whose loan portfolio consists of mostly small loans to underprivileged section, was only 7.71% and the net NPA is only 4.41% as on 31.03. 2017. Compared to Public Sector Banks who could hide their NPA by more provisions the loan portfolio of RRBs is much better.

Despite of the spectacular performance of the RRBs Govt. of India in a bid to privatise RRBs got RRB Act Amendment Bill 2014 passed in the Parliament in December 2015 and notified it subsequently. The Amended Act provides to increase the authorized share capital of RRBs from Rs. 5 Crores to Rs. 5000 Crores and the paid up capital from Rs. 1 crore to Rs. 2000 crore. It also makes provision for disinvestment of the capital of the RRBs from the existing stake holders with a rider that the combined share holding of the Central Government and Sponsor Bank should not be less that 51%. It also provides for dilution of the share capital of the State Government and makes provision for disinvestment of the capital of RRBs to the extent of 49%. The other provisions of the Act also provides regarding the tenure of the Directors on the Board and continuation of the term of the Chairman of RRBs on deputation from Sponsor Bank from initial five years to an indefinite period. The Amended RRB Act 2015 shall in essence alter the mode of functioning of RRBs and make them replicas of the Public Sector Commercial Banks. This will negate the very purpose of their functioning of RRBs. All India RRB Officers’ Federation (AIRRBOF) conducted several action programmes to thwart the move of Govt. of India to privatise RRBs and dilute the functioning of Regional Rural Banks.

AIRRBOF had earned many feathers in its cap. The Federation's principal achievement include presenting case of parity before National Industrial Tribunal (NIT), as well as winning the historic award of NIT, presentation before Equation Committee, R. C. Gupta Committee, Dr. Thorat Committee and all other Committees & Working Groups set up by Govt. of India, Reserve Bank of India & NABARD. Before all the Committees and Working Groups the views of AIRRBOF prevailed in the final report. AIRRBOF is now admist relentless fight to ensure parity in terminal benefits by way of ensuring equal pension to all working in the RRBs. The relentless fight of the Federation for safeguarding the interest of the officers ensured emergence of AIRRBOF as the only champion of officers' cause in RRBs.

AIRRBOF demands recruitment of adequate number of officers and workmen staff in RRBs so that the coveted objective of local feel and extensive touch with the rural populace as enshrined in the preamble to the RRB Act can be continued.

AIRRBOF believes in continuous education of its membership towards the development of the Banks. The spectacular performance of RRBs, in the recent past, could only be accomplished by the total involvement of Federation and its membership.

AIRRBOF is a true visionary. The Federation is developing its leadership not only in age old tools but also in 21st century specific I.T. and modern technology.

AIRRBOF believes in democratic principles, participative management and harmonious industrial Relations.

AIRRBOF firmly believes that in today's scene of commercialization, even for Rural Banking, it is the only option left for the Govt. of India to merge the RRBs with mainstream Public Sector Banks. This would enable strengthening the Banking Scenario all over the country.

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