The United Forum of Bank Unions, an umbrella body of nine bank unions, on Tuesday called for a two-day strike from December 16 to protest against the proposed Banking Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2021. The Bill will introduce provisions for privatisation of two public sector

In her Budget speech in February, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had announced that two government-owned banks will be privatised as part of the Centre’s disinvestment plan. The government has listed the Banking Laws (Amendment) Bill for discussion during the Winter Session of Parliament.

Bank employees have been opposing the move due to fear of job loss. The group of unions has decided to oppose the government’s move, All Indian Bank Employees’ Association told PTI.

“In a developing country like India, where banks deal with huge public savings and they have to play a leading role to ensure broad-based economic development, public sector banking with social orientation is the most appropriate and imperative need,” said the association’s General Secretary CH Venkatachalam

Meanwhile, Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi MP D Ravikumar on Tuesday wrote to the finance minister, expressing concerns about the Bill. Ravikumar is an associate of the All Indian Bank Employees Association.

In the letter, Ravikumar stated that the public sector banks have benefited small traders, farmers and transport sectors.

“However, they were also riddled with the non-performing assets in which the big corporate firms had a large share,” the letter stated.

Ravikumar pointed out that several governments have failed to devise schemes to minimise the debts stemming from the non-performing assets.

“Therefore, banks were forced to write off the loans resulting in large losses,” the letter stated. “This shows that it is not the nationalisation of banks which has failed by the wilful default of the corporate and big business houses, which have dragged banks into this crisis.”

The MP in his letter also stated the citizens were scared of private sector banks as some of them, like RBL Bank and Bandhan Bank, were shut by the Reserve Bank of India after they posted losses.