Syndicate Bank Staff Association (SBSA) affiliated to National Organisation of Bank Workers (NOBW) has decried the move for amalgamation of Regional Rural Banks (RRBs).

In a statement issued here on Sunday, K.S.Bhat, SBSA all-India secretary, said the proposed amalgamation of RRBs would not serve any purpose as in the case of the two earlier amalgamation initiatives that have been proved a bitter experience to the Government of India.

According to Mr Bhat, NOBA has already demanded for setting up a National Rural Bank Of India (NRBI), merging all existing RRBs.

However, the Government of India, in its proposal for further amalgamation of the existing 82 RRBs in 26 States and one Union Territory with a total branch network of 16,004, as on March 31, had suggested that 46 RRBs would be sponsored by 20 sponsor banks, he said.

On completion of this third round of amalgamation, there would be 17 State-level RRBs in Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Punjab, Haryana, Uttaranchal, Jharkhand, Assam, Meghalaya, Manipur, Tripura, Mizoram, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry whereas there would be more than one RRB in certain other States like Uttar Pradesh (6), Bihar (3), Rajasthan (2),Madhya Pradesh (3), Maharashtra (2), Andhra Pradesh (3), Karnataka (3), Orissa (2), and West Bengal (2), he added.

Mr Bhat said various trade unions have been opposing amalgamation of banks taking into consideration the very fact that the Government of India was much keen in merging of public sector banks to set up Mega Banks that eventually provide entry path for Foreign Banks to India which was neither in the interests of the nation nor the bank employees.

The SBSA leader has also sought clarification from the Union Government as to why the Government was not in favour of setting up of a Mega Bank or National Rural Bank Of India (NRBI) in the case of RRBs which could provide uniform banking facility to the rural and common people across the country.

Even, NRBI may be useful in achieving the Government of India targets set up for agriculture growth, financial inclusion and may enable to contribute in GDP growth by strengthening the credit delivery system of the country, he adds.

Mr Bhat alleged that amalgamation of RRBs was taking place again and again, leading to changes in the nomenclature, area of operation, etc, ultimately creating confusion and all sorts of doubts amongst their clientele as well as general public and not to speak about the wastage of funds it causes in the name of infrastructure development.

It is also a fact that the last two amalgamations of RRBs have not fetched any fruitful result and consequently the proposed third amalgamation will also be of no use, he alleged.