(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
September 02, 2012
Issues Behind Historic Bank
C P Krishnan
two-day total strike by bank employees and officers on August 22
and 23 was primarily against the move of the government of
governor Dr Subbarao recently made a statement that the PSBs
might require around Rs 175000 crore as capital in March 2018.
He further said there was no fund in the exchequer to meet such
a huge need and so it would be better to privatise the PSBs. Earlier, Montek Singh
Ahuluwalia, deputy chairman of the Planning Commission, had made
a similar statement. There is a clear proposal in draft of the
12th Five Year Plan to privatise the PSBs. Raghuram Rajan, who
was recently made the Chief Economic Advisor of the prime
minister, is a protagonist of privatisation. While heading a
committee, he had strongly recommended the sale of PSBs to
private corporates --- indigenous or foreign. He further
recommended that if that was not immediately possible due to one
reason or another, the control of the PSBs must be placed in the
hands of private corporates.
can well understand the ill effects that may follow PSB
privatisation. Loans to the peasants, marginalised sections of
the people and the small and medium enterprises would be
gradually done away with. The primary cause behind the large
number of suicides of farmers in the last 15 years is the lack
of long term, low interest institutional credit. If PSBs are
dismantled, the number of suicides is bound to increase in
after 43 years of bank nationalisation, banking services have
not reached nearly 50 per cent of the population. The need of
the hour is to open more bank branches, particularly in rural
areas, to cater to the common manís needs. But the government is
treading an exactly opposite path by asking the bank boards to
close down the so called unviable rural branches. They also want
the PSBs to be merged in the name of consolidation. The result
would be the closure of hundreds of bank branches and denial of
even the existing services to the banking clientele.
than three lakh vacancies remain unfilled in the banking
industry; two lakh more will arise in another three to four
years due to large scale retirement in this period. Instead of
filling up these vacancies through regular recruitment, banks
have started engaging business correspondents for meagre wages
and entrust to them all sorts of regular bank jobs. These BCs
are engaged by a private firm which a contract with the banks.
This method is sure to erode the secrecy and security of the
customers which they were enjoying hitherto.
infamous Khandelwal committee recommends rampant outsourcing.
This committee does not want the industry-wise wage revision
anymore, but bank-wise wage revision, and that too with larger
component of wages as variable pay. The ultimate goal is to
ensure a union free banking industry.
strike also pressed for long pending issues like employment on
compassionate ground, pension option to those who resigned,
pension updation, regulated working hours for officers, five
days banking etc.
state capitals as well as more than 2000 other centres saw huge
demonstrations on the strike days. Bank branches wore a deserted
look. The clearing transactions were paralysed.
extended solid support to the strike. It as well as the All
India Insurance Employees Association, All India Regional Rural
Bank Employees Association, All India Reserve Bank Employees
Association, All India NABARD Employees Association and All
India BSNL Employees Association, among others, staged
solidarity demonstrations throughout the nation.
the success of the strike, the government has come one step down
by announcing that it would withdraw the bill to exempt merger
of PSBs from the Competition Commission. But it is still adamant
to bring other legislations.
UFBU leaders will soon decide how to further intensify the