Bhubaneswar , 9/2( Odisha Samachar/Abhisek Mohanty) : The government wants to go ahead with various measures of banking reforms aimed at de-regulation and liberalization. Banking Laws have already been amended despite strong protests from within the Parliament and from outside by the Trade Unions. These changes relate to dilution of restrictions on voting rights of Foreign Capital investors in Banks, increase in voting rights of private investors in the equity capital of Public Sector Banks making Bank merger easier powers to supersede the Boards of Banks etc. All these are some unwarranted measures, speakers said at the 8th Conference of All Odisha Bank Employees Federation on Sunday here.
The Conference was inaugurated by internationally acclaimed economist Dr. Prabhat Patnaik, who spoke on how the Neo-Liberal policy is making the public sector sick.
The government wants to issue licenses to private corporate and business houses to start their own Banks. On the other hand, the Public Sector Banking is being weakened. Bad loans of corporates are increasing but velvet treatment is given to them instead of stringent actions. Their loans are being re-structured and concessions are being given. Bad loans are permitted to be made as investments in the very same defaulter company. Attempts are afoot to close down Bank branches in the rural areas and hand over rural banking to the private agencies and Business Correspondents, said Chairman of the Reception Committee Dusmanta Kumar Das, adding that while private sector banks are being encouraged and allowed to be expanded, public sector banks are sought to be closed down, consolidated and merged. This is totally against the objectives of public policy under the nationalization of Banks envisaged and committed by the government. Hence, all these retrograde Banking reforms measures should be reviewed, reconsidered and reversed.
“We oppose the anti people agenda that the government of India is moving ahead on, which includes merger and consolidation of Banks, closing down associate Banks with the view to merge them with State Bank Of India, Unilateral imposition of service condition in Associate Banks and Banking licenses to corporate and business house”, said General Secretary of the Federation Jagdish Jena.
The wage settlement has expired on October 31, 2012 and hence a revised settlement has become due from November 1, 2012. To negotiate and revise the wages and service conditions of the Bank employees & officers, all the Unions under the banner of United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU) have submitted their common charter of demands in October 2012. Even the formal negotiations have started in February 2013, so far already 8 rounds of discussions have taken place. But Indian Bank’s Association (IBA) has not come out with the offer on the expected Charter of demands submitted by UFBU comparing with other PSUs. Similarly, the workloads in the Bank branches have gone up substantially due to increase in total volume of business and non-provision of adequate staffs. The employees and officers are working under a lot of stress and strain. The job profile of the staffs has also undergone a change and all these need to be properly remunerated with adequate increase in wages. But unfortunately, IBA has offered only 10 percent for which the UFBU has called for a 48 hours strike on February 10, 2014, he added.
Among others, Vice President of CITU, Odisha State Committee Janardan Pati, Principal, Khalikote (Autonomous) College Prof. Saritanjali Bohidar also spoke.