The Lok Sabha on Monday post facto put its seal on the merger of the State Bank of Saurashtra (SBS) with State Bank of India (SBI) amid opposition from Left parties.

“The pay and allowances and service conditions of the employees of SBS will not be altered to their disadvantage,” Minister of State for Finance Namo Narain Meena said as the House approved the two bills to give effect to the merger that took place last year.

The bills to repeal the State Bank of Saurashtra Act and amend the SBI (Subsidiary Banks) Act were passed by voice vote.

Mr. Meena also said no branches of SBS are being closed as a result of the merger. “There should be no apprehension on this count”, he said.

The associate bank was merged with the SBI in October 2008 following resolutions passed by the boards of both the banks.

The amendments, though a legislative formality, was opposed by CPI-M and CPI which saw in the merger a larger design to privatise the state-owned banking sector.

“The bill has a hidden agenda to consolidate state-owned banks into a monolith...the purpose for which is privatisation of the bank,” A. Sampath (CPI-M) said, while opposing the bills.

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