Shiv Sena MP Priyanka Chaturvedi, in a letter to Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and State Bank of India (SBI) chairman Dinesh Kumar Ithara, has expressed dissatisfaction over SBI's revised guidelines for pregnant candidates. She also requested that the guidelines be recalled.
Chaturvedi said that the guidelines were "extremely discriminatory in nature and debilitates the progress made to empower the women of our country."
According to the revised guidelines, candidates who are pregnant three months and above will be considered 'temporarily unfit' and will be allowed to join within four months after delivery.
Earlier, women candidates with up to 6 months of pregnancy were allowed to join the bank subject to various conditions.
The conditions include furnishing a certificate from a specialist gynaecologist that her taking up bank's employment at that stage is in no way likely to interfere with her pregnancy or the normal development of the foetus, or is not likely to cause her miscarriage or otherwise to adversely affect her health.
"The present guideline, which allows the appointment of candidates up to six months of pregnancy, provided the candidate furnishes a certificate from specialist gynecologist was brought forward in 2009, However, the new proposed guideline delays the process of recruitment and promotion for women. This comes at a time when the state of the India's female workforce has only worsened," the letter read.
"According to World Bank estimates, Female labour participation declined to 20.79 in 2019. The country has also dropped by 28 places in the 2021 Gender Gap Index and was ranked 140 out of 156 countries, specifically based on the level of its women's economic participation and political empowerment."
She further wrote that such regressive and sexist guidelines will exacerbate the exclusion of women and the inequalities faced by them.
"The women of our country have been long fighting for equal rights, it's the responsibility of the State to spearhead this fight and not dissuade it. Therefore, I urge you to recall these discriminatory guidelines and ensure that such detrimental policies are not brought forward in future as well," it concluded.
(With agency inputs)