The United Forum Of Bank Unions (UFBU), an umbrella body of nine bank unions, has given a call for strike on March 15 and March 16 against the proposed privatisation of two state-owned lenders by the central government.
Earlier, the Union Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman, in the union budget, announced the privatisation of two Public Sector Banks (PSBs) as part of its disinvestment plan.
Nagarajan, the General Secretary of the All India Bank Officer's Association (AIBOA), told The Logical Indian, "It is a patriotic struggle to retain the public sector banks. We are strongly opposing the selling of shares of the Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) to private parties of the IDBI bank instead of enacting a stringent recovery law."
"The price of LIC shares dropped from ₹65 to ₹37. LIC's customer satisfaction rate is approximately 99%. You get a notification to pay your premium 3 months earlier from the deadline which shows how much it is customer-friendly and it's beyond understanding the decision of selling shares of LIC," added Nagarajan.
Giving an example of how privatisation of banks will affect the common people he said, "Public sector banks are the banks which cater the poorest of the poor. If you go to any private banks to open an account you will have to pay a minimum amount of ₹500. Turning the public sector into the private sector will have a huge impact on the common people."
The General Secretary also talked about the loan defaulters and how big companies simply walk away without paying back the loan amounts. Talking about a case of May 2018, when Tata Steels bagged Bhushan Steel, he said, "At that time, The National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) approved Tata Steel's ₹35,200 crore bid for the troubled Bhushan Steel Ltd (BSL) who had a debt of over ₹56,000 crore which was reportedly Tata Steel's second-biggest acquisition after the Corus Group acquisition in 2007. NCLT cleared the matter but there is a question, who will pay the deficit amount of 20,800 crores? The remaining amount is the public's hard-earned money but nobody paid attention at that time."
"Earlier RBI also denied disclosing the name of defaulters by saying that it would hamper the business, cause a bad image and would not be in the economic interest of the state. What kind of statement is this? The public should have the knowledge of loan defaulters," said Nagarajan.
Talking about the effects which the privatisation will cause on the youth, Nagarajan said, "When there will be privatisation then there will only be contractual jobs and it will create tension among the youths of this country. Every kind of employment will be contractual and people will always suffer from tension and can't give their 100 per cent in the job. We are concerned about the youths of this country. The basic question arises here what type of India we are giving to the new generation? I live for the people and that is why we are strongly opposing this decision of the central government."
"This government is anti-people and anti-labour," he added.
When asked about what will happen if the government doesn't pay any attention to this upcoming two days of strike, Nagarajan said, "This is just the beginning of the struggle and we are protecting this country only."