Nation-wide strike by RRB employees and officers demanding “No to disinvestment”

Parithiraja E

The employees and officers of 42 Regional Rural Banks numbering more than 70000 will observe Nation-wide strike on 23rd September 2022 pressing the Government of India to give up its anti-people move of selling the shares of Regional Rural Banks in the market.
The growth of Regional Rural Banks (RRBs) is linked with the development of Rural India. On early days of inception in the second part of 1970s, the RRBs played a vital role in catering to the needs of farmers, in tune with the objectives enshrined in RRBs act. In the 45 years of its life span, RRBs have earned the confidence of about 35 crores of rural population of this country through their dedicated service. Even during the pandemic, RRBs stood with the masses, served them and helped their development. As most of the advances of the RRBs are to the small and marginal people, the contribution to the priority sector lending is above 90%. It all happened due to the commitment of people’s needs by the staffs of RRBs.

GoI’s Policy shift:
The focus of economic policies of the Government of India (GoI) has changed in favour of the corporates for the past three decades and more so during the current BJP rule. The shift, in all possible ways, has allowed the loot of public assets in different names by the corporates. The glowing stars of Indian economy, the public sector enterprises are being handed over to the corporates to quench their everlasting thirst for profit. This policy is the root cause in attempting to change the focus of the RRBs also from mass banking to class banking.
Sale of RRBs, in different names:
The Union Government has announced that the shares of RRBs would be sold in market in the year 2015, immediately after amending the RRB Act. Serious arrangements have been made to sell the shares of two RRBs sponsored by State Bank of India. But, the continuous agitation of the RRBians stopped this move. Later, the government proposed to sell its stake in RRBs to the sponsor banks themselves. Now, the GoI has again issued guidelines to raise the capital of the RRBs in market.

Why this decision?

The Micro Finance Institutions (MFIs) have penetrated into the rural households and are sucking the blood of the people through their usurious lending. The government, through Reserve Bank of India, has removed the interest cap for MFIs and encourages banks to lend the MFIs and classify those advances in the priority sector category. The wide presence and successful functioning of RRBs checks the expansion of the MFIs and save the rural people from their clutches. But the GoI, in order to help the MFIs is attempting to destabilize the RRBs.
AIRRBEA the nightmare of absurd government policies…

The employees and officers under the banner of AIRRBEA will not let this happen. They are determined to oppose the anti-people policy of the Union Government. A massive dharna was conducted in the national headquarters on 10th August 2022. The GoI released some allowances that were kept pending clearance for quite long. At the same time, GoI issued guidelines for disinvestment of the shares of the RRBs in the market. AIRRBEA is well aware that the fight is not for the parity of allowances alone, but to protect the organisation. On 23rd September 2022, AIRRBEA has called for a nationwide strike demanding GoI to stop disinvestment proposal. If the government fails to reverse its decision, the struggle will get intensified. AIRRBEA will not relent unless its demand that “RRBs are for Rural India” is achieved.


  1. The employees and officers of each and every PSUs are on war path against the policies of the central government. The struggle in RRBs is one. The working class should gear up to fight against these policies of privatisation. The author has brought out the nuances involved in their struggle to protect RRBs. Such struggles should be of people’s movement. TUs have a greater role in ensuring this. National Rural Bank of India would be a viable alternative as put forward by AIRRBEA.

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