Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman
Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman
File Photo

Amid the ongoing two days strike of Bank employees in the entire nation, today Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman assured that not all banks will be privatised and wherever it happens, the interest of the employees will be protected. She said, ""We want banks to meet the aspirations of the country".

The bank strike has been called by nine unions in the country. Sitharaman further said that those banks which are likely to get privatised, the interest of every staff member will be protected while Interest of existing employees will be protected at all cost.

"Public sector enterprise policy very clearly says that we will continue with PSBs. Interests of the workers will absolutely be protected," she added.

Banks have been shut since four days as Saturday and Sunday were the weekly offs while on Monday and Tuesday strike has been called due to which services have been affected. As many as 10 lakh bank employees have participated in the nationwide strike. ATMs are likey functional but services such as deposits and withdrawal at branches, cheque clearance and loan approvals have been affected due to the strike.

Private banks, like HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, Kotak Mahindra Bank, Axis Bank and IndusInd Bank, are functioning normally, but these account for only one-third of banking services in the country.

The strike comes in the wake of Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman's announement in the Union Budget 2021-22 of privatisation of two public sector banks (apart from IDBI Bank) as part of the government’s disinvestment drive to generate Rs 1.75 lakh crore. The United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU), an umbrella body of nine bank unions has decided to call the strike.

The IDBI Bank is already privatised by the government by selling its majority stake to the Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) in 2019 and merged 14 public sector banks in the last four years.

State Bank of India explaining the consequences of the strike had said, "We inform that, we have been advised by lndian Banks Association lBA that United Forum of Bank Unions UFBU which comprises 9 major Unions, viz. All lndia Bank Employees’ Association AIBEA, All India Bank Officers’ Confederation AIBOC, National Confederation of Bank Employees NCBE, All lndia Bank Officers’ Association AIBOA, Bank Employees Federation of India BEFI, Indian National Bank Employees Federation INBEF, Indian National Bank Officers’ Congress INBOC, National Organisation of Bank Workers NOBW & National Organisation of Bank Officers NOBO, has given a call for all lndia strike by Bank Employees on 15th & 16th March, 2021. While Bank has made all arrangements to ensure normal functioning in its branches and offices, it is likely that work in our Bank may be impacted by the strike,"

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