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FinMin asks States to ensure safety of bank staff

The employees of the State Bank of India wearing personal protective equipment suit on bank working hours during the complete lockdown at Mallepally in Hyderabad recently.

The employees of the State Bank of India wearing personal protective equipment suit on bank working hours during the complete lockdown at Mallepally in Hyderabad recently.   | Photo Credit: The Hindu

The Finance Ministry has requested States and Union Territories to ensure safety and security of bank officials as well as take stern action against those who indulge in unruly behaviour with the officials.

The development comes against the backdrop of incidences of bank staff coming under attack in some parts of the country in recent weeks.

In a letter written to the chief secretaries of States and UTs, the Department of Financial Services (DFS) has said that incidences of unruly behaviour of anti-social elements against bankers need to be responded with stern action taken against such elements, according to sources.

Last month, a female employee with Canara Bank was attacked by a police constable at the bank’s Saroli branch in Surat, Gujarat. Few incidents, including attack on Bank of India staff in Maharashtra, were also reported after the Surat attack.

Citing recent news reports, the department said those have highlighted instances of anti-social elements behaving in an unruly manner with bankers within bank premises.

“You would agree that such incidents need to be responded to proactively and with a firm hand, stern action taken against such elements with full force of law so that bankers are protected and the public assured of secured access to banking services,” the department said in a letter said dated July 7.

Securing the availability of banking services to the public at all times is essential for households to meet their expenses. It is also required for traders, farmers and industries to carry on regular economic activities.

Delivery of essentials services, including banking, is all the more important in the present context of the COVID-19 pandemic, the letter said.

The DFS has requested states to appropriately sensitise and instruct district magistrates and the state police to take all necessary measures for prevention of timely and effective response and deterrent actions.

Public communication of the state’s resolve and actions to deal firmly with miscreants would also help in deterring and instilling confidence in the public and the banking community, it said.

About the letter, All India Bank Employees Association General Secretary C.H. Venkatachalam said the matter has finally received the attention of the government.

Pointing out that banking services are very important for the economy in these difficult times, he stressed on the need to take measures to deal firmly with miscreants who indulge in such attacks.

Following the Surat incident, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had assured that the safety of all members of staff in banks is of importance.

“Amid challenges, banks are extending all services to our people. Nothing should threaten their safety and dignity,” she had said.

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Printable version | Aug 9, 2020 5:53:53 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/finmin-asks-states-to-ensure-safety-of-bank-staff/article32030723.ece

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