Home » The bank strike affects clearance of cheques worth Rs.16,500 crore

The bank strike affects clearance of cheques worth Rs.16,500 crore

by Raju Vernekar
0 comment 3 minutes read

IT Correspondent
Mumbai, Mar 16: 

Over 10 lakh bank employees from over 80,000 branches across India participated on the first day of the two-day bank strike that affected clearances of cheques and other payment instruments worth Rs.16,500 crore, bank unions said.
The strike commenced at about 6 am on Monday, will end on Tuesday midnight. Payment instruments like cheques, demand drafts and pay orders are processed by three large centres in the country. While Chennai handles 5.8 million instruments worth Rs.5,150 crore on a daily basis, Mumbai handles 8.6 million instruments worth Rs.6,500 crore and Delhi processes 5.7 million instruments of Rs.4,850 crore.
12 public sector banks, 12 private banks, 6 foreign banks, 56 regional banks which handle transactions worth over Rs 150 lakh crore are on two strike organised to raise voice against privatisation. They include the United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU) strong hold banks like SBI, Canara Bank, Bank of India, IDBI and Bank of India.
C.H. Venkatachalam, general secretary of All India Bank Employees’ Association (AIBEA) said that the first day of the strike was a success and since significant number of employees observed the strike, cheque clearances were badly hit. “Our strike is not for any of our employee demands. The strike is to save our banks from being taken over by private vested interests,” said Venkatachalam.
The All-India Nationalised Banks Officers’ Federation (AINBOF) said it set out on educating the customers and the public about this issue to garner support for their cause. “The benefits of privatisation will accrue to the few corporate and private entities whereas majority of the country’s population may be left out of the mainstream banking,” G.V. Manimaran, general secretary of AINBOF said in a statement.
Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced in the Union Budget for Financial Year 2022 that the government will pare stake in two state-owned lenders apart from IDBI Bank, without specifying names. This prompted bank unions to declare a strike as tbelieve that it will not only affect employees but bank customers as well. To that extent, bank unions have begun engaging with customers and the public at large on what they believe are the ill effects of privatisation.
The banks short listed for privatisation include: Bank of Maharashtra, Bank of India, Indian Overseas Bank and Central Bank of India, although there was no official confirmation. To be sure, IDBI Bank is already classified as a private lender. In January 2019, Life Insurance Corp. of India (LIC) completed acquiring a 51% stake in IDBI Bank, after it was approved by the Union cabinet in August 2018. However, as Mint reported in September last year, LIC is planning a gradual sale of its stake in IDBI Bank.
In Mumbai, bank employees participating in the strike distributed pamphlets at railway stations like Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus, Churchgate, Andheri and Thane to explain their stand against privatisation to the public, UFBU convenor Devidas Tuljapurkar, said. The UFBU is an umbrella body of nine bank unions.

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