Move to consolidate public sector banks opposed
MYSORE: Banking services were hit in the city on Wednesday following a strike by members of the Mysore District Bank Employees’ Association (MDBEA) as part of the nation-wide strike called by the All India Bank Employees’ Association.
More than 300 employees gathered in front of the main branch of the State Bank of Mysore at Lashkar and raised slogans against the Government for consolidating the public sector banks and the move to merge the State Bank of Indore and other associate banks with the State Bank of India.
Ramaiah, president, MDBEA, said the strike had been called to pressure the Government to stop privatisation of public sector banks, closure and merger of public sector banks with the State Bank of India, and the amendments to Banking Regulation Act which would allow full voting rights to foreign investors in the banking sector.
The MDBEA said banks had gone to villages and masses after nationalisation in 1969, but privatisation would enable corporate business houses to capture the hard-earned savings of the people and use them for speculative purposes.
Social obligations such as lending to the priority sector would be stopped, it added. The MDBEA demanded that the recommendations of various committees, which suggested that the government’s capital in the public sector banks should be reduced to less than 51 per cent, be rejected.
The MDBEA expressed fears that allowing full voting rights to foreign investors in banks would endanger public savings in the nationalised and public sector banks as they would be vulnerable to be taken over by foreign investors.
Drawing attention to the proposed closure of the State Bank of Indore and its merger with the SBI, Mr. Ramaiah and other office-bearers said that other associate banks may face similar fate. However, they said the associate banks were profit-making units and were more efficient than the SBI on various parameters. If the associate banks were to be delinked from the State Bank of India, their performance would be even better, according to MDBEA.
“If any bank is not performing well and public deposit is in jeopardy, the Government can merge that bank with another bank to save people’s savings. But now, Section 35 of the SBI Act is sought to be misused to acquire even sound banks in order to make SBI a bigger and global bank and the background and the preamble of the ABI Act is being forgotten and ignored,” the MDBEA said.