After Farmers, SSC Students, Bankers Protest In Delhi; Know Why
The country’s bankers staged a protest in Delhi on Wednesday in the wake of the recent Punjab National Bank (PNB) scam. The dharna was called in against the way fraud cases are being handled by banks, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and central government, tarnishing the image of all the bankers, victimisation of lower level bank staff. They also demand a revision of wages, stop the sale of third party products, among others.
The bankers have demanded not to single out any lower level staff in the bank fraud case, not to exclude RBI’s role from the investigation, avoid harassment of employees and officers by mass transfers, a thorough probe by Joint Parliamentary Committee and restore people’s confidence in the banking system.
Other demands of the bankers’ union are wage revision that is pending since November 2017 and is yet to be tabled. Bankers’ wage is revised by Bipartite settlement and bankers have been demanding inclusion in Central Pay Commission for parity as government schemes like Mudra, Digital India, Jan Dhan Yojana, Suraksha Bima, Atal Pension Yojana, Jeevan Jyoti, Aadhaar linkage, demonetization are all imposed on banks.
Bankers also do want the extra burden of cross-selling third party products like insurance, mutual fund, etc. through bank counters. This is prohibited by the RBI and puts tremendous pressure on bankers as daily targets are given. They are sometimes forced to impose these schemes on customers and in case of failure, are subjected to arbitrary transfers and punishments like holding up of claims, bills, etc.
Speaking to The Logical Indian, a banker said that they face immense pressure to advertise obsolete government schemes to customers.
“Mudra loans have been started by simply renaming the earlier “MSME Loans” under which there is no collateral or security taken up to Rs 10 lakh. To showcase as government success, massive amounts of mudra loans are shown on papers. Many of these are NPAs which are being hidden, are not even proper loans but read as Rs 50 overdraft to 100 customers and is shown as Rs 25,000 mudra loan,” she said.
“Atal Pension Yojana is a failure and we are still forcing customers to take it. If we don’t do that we face the brunt of authorities. Same is with digital India. We take customers’ mobile phones and download rubbish apps just to show how many customers have been migrated to a digital platform when in reality customers have no idea of what’s going on and there is an insane pressure on us to make these schemes a success,” she added.
“Non-Performing Assets (NPA) have risen due to all this and since NPAs have risen, there is no fresh recruitment. As a result, there is severe staff shortage. On top of that transfers are used as punishment, so a person is arbitrarily assigned a seat without regard for their skill set or training. I myself was put in charge of foreign exchange and joint custodian of cash in my probationary period itself without any guidance or training. Bank and customers are exposed to severe risks in such cases,” she continued.
Other issues faced by bankers
Due to pressure for carrying out non-banking tasks, bankers’ day-to-day functioning gets neglected and to cover up for it, they are forced to sometimes work until 9-10 pm daily or on every holiday or on Sundays without any compensation/ leaves in return. Menstruating, pregnant and lactating mothers undergo extreme mental and physical harassment, said the banker to The Logical Indian.