Finance Secretary Debasish Panda has on Friday written a letter to Chief Secretaries of all States/UTs and have urged them to consider a special dispensation for vaccination of staff of banks, insurance companies, business correspondents, payment systems and other financial service providers on priority.
The Finance Secretary said they are playing a critical role in ensuring that their branches/offices remain open and functional amid the COVID-19 pandemic. They continue to provide the complete suite of services to their customers, overcoming issues in mobility and adherence to social distancing precautions, Panda added. He also noted that many officials have succumbed to the virus while carrying out their job.
"In addition to the request for their vaccination on priority, I would also like to draw your attention to some unfortunate instances which have taken place recently in different States/ UTs where bank employees have been manhandled by State law enforcement authorities. Likewise, offices of banks and branches have occasionally been ordered to shut down even during permitted banking hours, accompanied by threats. While bank employees are already braving risks to their health and need to be assured about their safety, these incidents result in the exact opposite and end up demoralizing them and their families, which leads to disruption in services," Panda wrote.
Posting the letter to Twitter, the Finance Secretary applauded the bankers, insurers, etc., for ensuring "uninterrupted delivery of banking and financial services to people in need during these challenging times".
"All State/UT governments are requested to instruct local authorities to provide them necessary help and support in ensuring delivery of banking and financial services. Vaccinating them on priority will mitigate their high exposure to risk in delivery of public service,": he added.