The All-India State Bank of India Staff Federation has urged unions to be alert against moves to weaken public sector banks.

Senior vice-president of the federation P.A. Manjunatha said that private sector banks were now being pampered by the Central government to weaken the public sector banks.

Inaugurating a seminar on the 'Role of trade unions in the banking sector,' organised by the State Bank Staff Union (SBSU) here on Sunday, he said that many Ministries had now started dealing with new generation banks. The unions should ensure that the public sector banks were not weakened, he added.

Mr. Manjunatha said that the concerns raised by the unions in the wake of the economic liberalisation had proved right. If India had been allowed to have a second round of financial reforms, the economy would have been a shambles, he said.

Countries such as Iceland that had followed the prescriptions of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) were now bankrupt, he said, adding that the managements in India and the government were falling prey to such prescriptions orchestrated by the multinational corporations.

Economic reforms in the country had allowed the capital to overpower the labour, he said. Dismissing the negative portrayal of the unions as a force that hampered industrial development, he said that the bureaucratic red-tapism was the major obstacle to the country's development.

SBSU (Kerala Circle) president A. Jayakumar presided. P.A. Vasudevan spoke on 'Financial crisis and the banking sector'. SBSU general secretary K. Rajakurup was also present.

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