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New Delhi: State Bank of India (SBI) on Monday said it has plans of recruiting more than 14,000 people this year.

While refusing media reports about its proposed voluntary retirement scheme for over 30,000 employees as being a cost-cutting measure, the bank said it "has been employee friendly and is expanding its operations and requires people, which is evidenced by the fact that Bank has plans of recruiting more than 14,000 employees this year".

The total employee strength of country's largest lender stood at 2.49 lakh at the end of March 2020 as compared to 2.57 lakh a year ago.

According to sources, a draft scheme for VRS has been prepared and board approval is awaited.

The proposed scheme -- 'Second Innings Tap VRS-2020' -- is aimed at optimising human resources and costs of the bank.

"SBI has an existing workforce of around 2.50 lacs and has been in the forefront of serving employee needs and designing ways and means for engaging and assisting employees in their life journey. While our commitment towards our valued employees remains unshakable, we are deeply desirous of skilling the unemployed youth of the country, as is evidenced by the fact that we are the only Bank in the country which has onboarded Apprentices under the National Apprenticeship Scheme of Govt of India," the bank said.

Ahead of amalgamation of SBI's five associates with it in 2017, the merging subsidiaries had announced VRS for their employees.

In 2001 also the bank had announced VRS with the objective to optimise human resources.

However, the proposed VRS scheme is not finding favour with bank unions.

Such a move at a time when the country is in the grip of COVID-19 pandemic reflects anti-worker attitude of management, National Organisation of Bank Workers Vice President Ashwani Rana said.

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