Ludhiana, December 15, 2012: As per the decision of All India Bank Employees Association, Punjab Bank Employees Federation is observing one day All India Strike on December 20 to protest against the attempts of the government to hurry up with the Banking Law amendments, to oppose the attempts of bank mergers in the name of functional improvement, to oppose schemes to bail out corporate defaulters and to stop licences to corporate houses to start their banks.
In a statement here today, the federation’s secretary Naresh Gaur said that ever since the government initiated the neo-liberal economic reforms policies in our country, there have been repeated attempts to somehow bring in policies that would liberalise, privatise and foreignise our banking sector.
“We have been consistently fighting against these policies and have conducted agitations and strike actions on various occasions in the past whenever the government took any measures of banking reforms, because these are not in the interest of our country and our economy”, he said.
Adding, he said even as late as August 22 and 23 this year, there was a countrywide bank strike at the call of UFBU when during the last session of the Parliament, the government tried to enact the amendments to the Banking Regulations Act and Bank Nationalisation Act.
But government is continuing their efforts to somehow push through the Banking Laws Amendment Bill which would enable easy merger of banks, increased voting rights to private capital in both PSBs and in private banks and banks to deal with forward contract business, he said, adding this Bill is being listed on a daily basis in the Lok Sabha to somehow get is passed.
In the meantime, the government introduced another Bill to amend to Sarfaesi Act / Debt Recovery Act to help the corporate loan defaulters by converting the bad loans as investments in the equity capital of these defaulter companies. “While we were protesting from outside, many MPs in the Lok Sabha opposed the Bill inside the Parliament”, he said.
The entire NDA, the entire Left parties, TMC, AIADMK, etc. staged a protest walk out from the Lok Sabha on the issues on which they are fighting, he said, adding they protested that bad loans should be not wiped out through concessions and recovered by taking stringent measures. Despite this opposition, the government passed the Bill thus nakedly standing in favour of the corporate defaulters.
Further, he said while the BR Act is being amended to make bank mergers easier, recently, in an unilateral way, the government has sent directives to the Banks grouping the banks as under in the name of functional improvement
Further, the Finance Minister is repeatedly stressing upon the need for merger of banks, he revealed. He said all these are not happening in isolation. “Obviously they happen in concert to achieve their agenda of consolidation of banks”, he said, adding while the attempt is to merge the Public Sector Banks, there are attempts on the other hand, to allow corporate and industrial houses to start their own banks.
“Hence it is very clear that the government wants to hurry through the banking reforms’, he believed.