Andhra Pradesh

Privatisation of PSBs will affect priority sector lending, say union leaders

Employees of public sector banks staging a protest at the Gandhi statue, near GVMC, in Visakhapatnam on Monday.   | Photo Credit: K.R. Deepak

The proposal of the Union government to privatise public sector banks (PSBs) will affect priority sector lending and thereby hit small farmers, traders, rural and cottage industries and small industries, which are the mainstay of the national economy, said leaders of the United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU).

The government was planning privatisation of PSBs on the plea of mounting non-performing assets (NPAs) and to improve efficiency of banks. The laws for recovery of NPAs should be tightened and large corporate stressed assets should be made to pay up. Wilful default of loans should be made a criminal offence, UFBU State convener L. Chandrasekhar told the media here on Monday.

All the unions NCBE, AIBEA, BEFI, INBEF, INBOC, NOBW, AIBOC and NOBO are participating in the bank strike, being observed, on the banner of the UFBU, on Monday and Tuesday (March 15 and 16).

Mr. Chandrasekhar said that the Centre had proposed to privatise two of the 12 PSBs. The Central union leaders were called for discussions on March 12 but the government had failed to give any assurance on dropping the privatisation plan. He attributed the NPAs to advancing of loans to corporates without collateral security and loan waivers announced by the governments from time to time.

The PSBs had contributed to the economic growth of the nation. Privatisation would cause immense loss to the poor and marginalised sections of society as their credit needs would not be taken care of by the private banks, whose only priority would be profits, he said. The UFBU leader refuted the contention that the private sector was efficient. If that was the case, there should not have been any NPAs from large private corporate entities, he said.

Replying to queries, he said that the privatisation of PSBs would not affect the present employees but future generations would stand to lose as the rule of reservation may not be extended in new recruitments. The recent merger of PSBs has led to the closure of some bank branches and in future there could be downsizing of staff, he said.

SBI Staff Union, Visakhapatnam Module, deputy general secretary A. Sushma, also spoke.

Later, the union leaders participated in a rally from the Saraswathi Park to the Gandhi statue near the GVMC, where they staged a protest.

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Printable version | May 19, 2021 9:06:17 AM |

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