An independent bank officers’ association has given a call for a protest march to New Delhi from Calcutta and Mumbai to pre-empt a law it fears the Centre will introduce to privatise nationalised banks. The rallies will commence on November 24 and culminate at Jantar Mantar in Delhi on November 30.
“The success of the farmers' movement has inspired us. We have decided to march from across the country, especially from Calcutta and Mumbai to Delhi to protest against privatising of banks… On November 30, a mega rally will be held at Jantar Mantar where we have invited members of all Opposition parties to speak,” said Soumya Dutta, the general secretary of All India Bank Officers’ Confederation, at a news meet on Monday in Calcutta.
He said several memorandums and letters had been sent to Mamata Banerjee and her party MPs as well. Mamata has agreed to stand by the anti-privatisation movement.
The confederation believes that Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman will table a legislation to privatise public sector banks. If the legislation is passed in Parliament, around Rs 60.7 lakh crore of individual bank deposits will lose the security of banks, the bankers’ union said.
“Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who was from the BJP, had protested against the government decision to nationalise all private banks... Years later his successors are selling all these banks to crony capitalists,” Dutta added.
“This proves that the move to privatise PSBs is not an economic decision but a political one,” he added.
The confederation also alleged that such a decision would affect the priority sectors, namely small and marginal farmers, non-corporate individual farmers, micro-enterprises, self-help groups and weaker sections such as the SCs, STs and minorities. Almost 60 per cent of the total credit to three sections come from the 12 PSBs and 43 regional rural banks.
Economist Prasenjit Bose, who was also present at the news conference, said 70 per cent of the total assets privatised in the last 30 years had been done under Narendra Modi’s rule.