Uco sets Jan 1 date for VRS
ADB study to form sub-region trade bloc
New mantra for marketing

Calcutta, Nov 25: 
The city-based Uco Bank has decided to offer a voluntary retirement scheme to its employees from January 1.

The bank will offer 50 per cent of the ex-gratia amount to its employees in cash and the rest 50 per cent will be paid in one lump sum on completion of five years from the date of the scheme, with interest payable at 10 per cent per annum. The bank plans to trim its workforce from 32,000 at present to 28,000.

While Uco is offering this mode of payment, Andhra Bank has decided to offer the entire ex-gratia amount in cash. Its VRS opens on December 1.

An employee seeking voluntary retirement under the scheme will be entitled to the ex-gratia amount which is equal to 60-days� salary last drawn for each completed year of service or salary for the number of months service left, whichever is less.

Bank of India, which has already come up with its VRS, has received 6,000 applications till date.

The Bank of India scheme is offering 50 per cent of ex-gratia in cash and the rest 50 per cent of the ex-gratia amount will be paid by way of the bank�s term deposits receipt at the rates applicable to the stafff members for a period of five years, with a lock-in period of three years.

Similarly Punjab National Bank has received 6,000 applications for its VRS.

Oriental Bank of Commerce, whose VRS will open on December 1, is also offering 100 per cent cash payment to its employees.

However, the main concern for bankers is that the schemes may see a major exodus of talented people.

B. Samal, chairman and managing director of Allahabad Bank said, �We are worried that talented and skilled people will leave the bank. But we have to trim our workforce as per the RBI�s instructions.�

A senior Bank of India official added that about eight general managers, eight deputy general managers, 30 assistant general managers and more than 100 chief managers have also submitted their applications. Allahabad Bank�s VRS opens on December 1.

United Bank of India however has not yet circulated the VRS among its employees, though the board has approved the matter.

Biswajit Choudhuri, chairman and managing director of UBI said, �We will come up with VRS in this fiscal. We are looking into the finer details of the scheme. We will also not like to see talented people leave the bank.�

The unions too are worried about the post-VRS scenario. �We wanted to discuss the matter with the finance minister Yashwant Sinha and he said that more professional people will be brought in from the market. But the banks will have to offer fantastic salaries to them. Where will the banking industry get so much money?� said S R Sengupta, general secretary of All India Bank Officers� Confederation.    

Calcutta, Nov 25: 
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has initiated a $ 1 million special study on the economic potential in the sub-region covering India, Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan.

The multilateral funding institution will send in a high level team led by the ADB director Y. Iwassaki, next week, at the launch of the South Asian Sub-regional Economic Cooperation (SASEC).

The cross-border initiative which comes at the behest of the city-based Indian Chamber of Commerce in collaboration with leading chambers of Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal, will be inaugurated at an international conference in the city on November 28.

Apart from Iwassaki, Christine Wallich, director, industry, west, and several other top officials will present the bank�s views on the potential of the sub-region.

Besides, a US mission on energy, representatives of USAID and ESCAP will also submit papers during the two-day conference, Aditya V. Lodha, chairman of the SASEC steering committee said today.

Lodha, who is also the former chairman of the Indian Chamber of Commerce, said the proposed forum would add a new dimension to the dynamics of trade and investment in the region.

Sudipto Mudle, principal advisor of South Asia Regional Cooperation Programs Department, (west) of ADB, was present at the press conference today, representing ADB�s support for the initiative.

Lodha said the genesis of the initiative took place in 1998 in Kathmandu, when business and industry chambers from Bangladesh, Nepal and Eastern India endorsed a common document to pledge support for greater economic cooperation.

The Bangladesh business delegation would be led by Abdul Awal Mintoo, while the Nepal team will be headed by Diwakar Golcha, the vice-president of the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry.    

New Delhi, Nov 25: 
The key to better business marketing is to shift from being competition centric to customer centric, said Jagdish N. Sheth, professor of marketing at Emory University, Atlanta.

This in turn would mean focussing on collaboration rather than competion. The collaboration has to be with customers on one side and with suppliers on the other.

He said that collaboration with customers is more pronounced in business to business transactions, where respective strengths of the collaborating businesses can significantly reduce marketing costs.

Sheth, who has published more than 200 books and research papers in different areas of marketing, was speaking yesterday at an international conference on Customer Relationship Management (CRM).    


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