UFBU has given a call for serious campaign against privatisation of Public Sector Banks to fight out the imminent danger.
14 private banks were nationalised on 19th July 1969 and six more banks were nationalised on 6th April 1980. Banking services reached many parts of the country and nationalized banks played a vital role in nation building and poverty alleviation. With a paradigm shift from class banking to mass banking combined with large scale recruitments – nationalised banks helped the country’s economy grow in multiple ways.
What we witness today is in stark contrast to the principles of nationalisation. The social obligation has been diluted to such an extent that banks have no qualms in accounting most of the jewel loans, even in metropolitan areas, under agriculture sector. Marketing of third party products has intensified to alarming levels that basic tenets of banking have taken a back seat. Everyday targets and continuous follow ups do not allow staff at the branch level to work peacefully and cater to the needs of customers. Bank staff are severely pressurised to market alternate banking channels like mobile banking and internet banking which in turn reduces the foot fall inside bank branches. The Public Sector Banks (PSBs) are trying to ape the private sector banks in many ways thus attempting to reverse the gains of nationalisation.
On the other side, there is a large scale write offs running into lakhs of crores of rupees to the corporate defaulters which eats the profit earned by the PSBs. And in spite of such colossal write offs and provisioning, PSBs are making huge net profit. There is a concerted move on the part of the BJP Government at the centre to privatise Public Sector Banks. The Finance Minister has announced that two Public Sector Banks would be privatised to start with.
The United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU) rightly apprehends that once again the Union Government may bring a bill to privatise PSBs in this winter session which is to commence shortly. Hence UFBU, in its meeting held on 4th November 2022 at Mumbai, has called for various action programs to thwart this anti-people move of the Government. This time the idea of the Union Government is strategic sale of PSBs ; if implemented PSBs will go into the very same hands of capitalists who have swindled the PSBs in the name of huge write-off. The already diluted social obligation of PSBs will totally vanish, recruitment will dwindle, employees’ rights will be compromised and corporates will have a free hand in ‘managing’ the banks.
The UFBU decided to continue its campaign against move of bank privatisation considering attitude of the Government. Decision has been taken to hold state level Convention throughout the country between 20th Nov and 10th Dec 2022. Other struggle programmes including strike in short notice will be taken up looking into developments in the ensuing winter session of Parliament. Extensive social media campaign will be undertaken to make common people aware of the imminent danger of bank privatisation and its ill effects on country’s economy.
At the call of the leadership the entire banking fraternity should rise in unison, irrespective of cadre in their patriotic duty of saving the Public Sector Banks.