SHILLONG, May 16: RBI Deputy Governor Viral Acharya’s remarks to re-privatize some nationalized banks has sparked unrest among the banking fraternity who under the banner of United Forum of Bank Unions held a centralized joint demonstration on Tuesday and called on others to rise in protest against RBI’s provocation of re-privatization of banks.
“We are fighting for our existence as the government is pressuring hard for privatization,” said UFBU, Convener Biman B Bhattacharya adding, “It is sad that RBI Governor made a public statement against nationalized bank. They want to de nationalized and then privatize”.
Recently at a function in Mumbai, Acharya had said the time has come to re-privatize PSB’s, disinvestment, merger and consolidation, reduction of staff through VRS as a measure to solve the non-performing assets (NPAs) issue.
“RBI is the regulator of banks and instead of suggesting ways and means to recover the loans and strengthen the banks, is advocating privatization, said Bhattacharya adding, “It is absolutely unwarranted provocative statement and we condemn it”.
Stating that in between 1969 and 2014 many banks were privatized out of which 24 private banks collapsed, Bhattacharya questioned, “Who loses out of this? The public and it is proven”.
Also criticizing the demonetization move of the NDA government, Bhattacharya said, “Where is the black money hoarded outside that the government assured will come back after demonetization”.
“The demonetization move of the government changed nothing but only penalized the small businesses and the lower middle class of the country”.
Another banker who was participating in the centralized joint demonstration against privatization, Davis Lyngdoh said, “Privatization of nationalized bank is detrimental to all the people. Be it the service sector, middle class or lower middle class. It will only benefit the corporate and worsen the employment problem”.
He further said that the private sector banks contribution is not being acknowledged by the government and the anti-labour reform which is detrimental to common man is being formulated.
Echoing similar sentiments, another banker Debashis Dutta said, “Privatization will cost the commoners dearly and the farmers would be affected the most by it”.
Employees from different bank branches including the members of the Meghalaya Joint Council of Trade Union (MJCTU) participated in the demonstration held at the premises of SBI main branch in the city.
During the demonstration speakers spoke on the adverse affect of privatization on the public and them and called upon the fellow bankers to stay united and be ready for agitation if the need arises.