Nationwide Bank Strike for Continuous 2 Days on 15th and 16th March, 2021 against the proposed privatization of Public Sector Banks

On the call given by UNITED FORUM OF BANK UNIONS (UFBU) a massive rally was organized by UFBU Khanna in front of State Bank of India, Opp. Bus Stand, Khanna. Various leaders of UFBU, Com. B.K. Jethi, Zonal Secretary Punjab Bank Employees’ Federation (PBEF), Com. Vikky Loomab, Organizing Secretary AISBIEU (Chandigarh Cirlce), Com. Sukhpal Singh, President Punjab Bank Employees’ Federation (PBEF) (Khanna Unit), Com. Kamaljit Singh PNB Officers Retirees Association, addressed the rally on this occasion.

ALL INDIA BANK STRIKE

Com. Gopal Batish, Sh. Pargat Singh Fedral Bank, Com. Amritpal Singh Union Bank, Com. Karam Chand PSPCL Union Khanna were also present.

While addressing the rally Com. Jethi said that, the Budget presented by the Finance Minister is once again full of claims and rhetoric and far away from ground realities. It was expected that with the experience gained during the pandemic period, there would be some sensible measures to take our economic forward. But this Budget is again another exercise beating the same track.

Government’s Economic Survey talks of poverty reduction is the top priority rather than reducing disparity. But figures are coming out that while billionaires have swelled their assets, the poor people continue to grown under poverty

ALL INDIA BANK STRIKE

 

Though country attained independence in 1947, it remained backward economically. Basic and broad-based economic development was the need of the hour. But unfortunately, the then Banks, which were all in private hands and many of them owned by big industrial and business houses, did not come forward to contribute in the process of development.

Agriculture sector, Rural and Cottage Industries, Small Industries and Business, which were the mainstay of our economy and other pivotal sectors of the economy remained neglected. Nationalization of Banks and bringing them under Public Sector became very critical and crucial for giving impetus to country’s growth and progress.

In this background, 14 major private Banks were nationalized in 1969 and 6 more in 1980. State Bank of India, its Subsidiary Banks, as well as the Regional Rural Banks, and the nationalized banks became the sheet-anchor of national economic development. Banks started reaching out to the common masses, bank branches started to be opened in rural areas and remote villages, precious savings of the people were mobilized and brought into banking system. Hitherto neglected sectors like agriculture, employment generation productive activities, poverty alleviation programmes, rural development, health, education, exports, infrastructure, women empowerment, small scale and medium industry, tiny and micro industries, etc. became the priority sector and focused attention of Banks.

Class Banking was transformed into Mass Banking and the common man and deprived section of society could access, convenient and safe banking services. Economy got boosted and there were many large strides and achievements in the past 5 decades.

Public Sector Banks are the very vehicles of our economy’s growth and development. PSBs have become the trustees of people’s savings and the repository and depository of the people’s confidence. Public Sector Banks are the reservoirs to irrigate the economic development in our country. Public Sector Banks contribution to make the country’s self-sufficiency is immense as they played pivotal role in all revolutions like green, blue, dairy etc. Public sector Banks not only unshackled the farmers, landless labourers and the rural populace from the clutches of money lenders, but also provided much required credit which made rural India a strong component of country’s economy. Today’s major infrastructural development has the highest contribution from Public Sector Banks.

Public Sector Banks are earning huge Operating profits, as can be seen hereunder:

Operating Profits of Public Sector Banks – at a glance

YearTotal Operating Profits
2009-1076,945 crores
2010-1199,981 crores
2011-121,16,337 crores
2012-131,21,839 crores
2013-141,27,632 crores
2014-151,38,064 crores
2015-161,38,191 crores
2016-171,59,022 crores
2017-181,55,690 crores
2018-191,49,804 crores
2019-201,74,336 crores

Instead of further strengthening public sector banking, the present policies are aimed to weaken PSBs, by starving them of the required capital, human resources, through disinvestment and proposed privatization. Weakening our public sector banks is unwarranted, unjustified and regressive step. We demand strengthening of Public Sector Banks, by adequate infusion of capital, human resources and strengthened statutory framework to recover the stressed assets.

Com Gaur said, that the Government has made announcement to privatize the Public Sector Banks in the recent budget session. The nationalization of private banks in 1969 and 1980 are watershed events. Bank Nationalization, lead to private banks being pressed into the service of the Nation; Public Sector Banks took birth, ushering in new era of next- door, trusted banking services to the citizenry.

This resulted in exponential growth of bank branches; making available much needed funds to the credit starved sectors like agriculture, small, village and cottage industries, small entrepreneurs, share croppers, deprived section of society, liberating them from the slavery to money lenders.

Public Sector Banks became pivot on which the progress of the country revolved. Today’s rural/semi-urban India prosperity, infrastructural facilities, industrial advancement and the improved standards of life of common man is the result of the dedication of Public Sector Banks.

In the garb of efficiency, and mis-conceived policy to shrug of the responsibility, Government has embarked upon privatization of Public Sector Banks.

The announcement that FDI would be permitted upto 74% in insurance sector is a retrograde measure and unscrupulous foreign investors will play havoc with our people.

Similarly, FM has also announced that shares of LIC will be sold away to private hands and amendment to LIC would be done soon.

He said there is also the major announcement that 2 Public sector banks and one general insurance company would be privatized. Banks and Insurance companies deal with people’s money. Privatizing them means handing over people’s money to private vested interests.

Bad Loans and NPAs in the Banks have been increasing year after year because of corporate defaulters. Instead of taking tough action on them, Government wants to white wash the Balance Sheets by shifting these bad loans from the books of the Banks to the Assets Reconstruction Company or the Bad Bank. This will only benefit the corporate defaulters and remove all the bad loans from public glare and silently write them off.

As usual this year Budget is also disappointing. There is no concrete measure to revive and improve the economy and ensure better living conditions for the poor.

It has, therefore, become inevitable for the United Forum of Bank Unions to convey our protest and draw the attention of the Government and Bank managements through agitational programmes and strike action to convey our protests and the Government.

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