Business Bureau United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU) has given a call for nation-wide agitation and two days continuous strike in all the banks on March 15 and 16, 2021 to protest against the Government’s announcement in the recent Budget to privatise two public sector banks. The apex trade union forum consist of nine bank unions AIBEA, NCBE, AIBOC, AIBOA, BEFI, INBEF, INBOC, NOBW and NOBO representing nearly one million bank employees and officers working in the various banks. Deputy General Secretary of Eastern Maharashtra Bank Employees’ Association (EMBEA) Jaywant Gurway said that Public sector banks are the life line of the country. They should remain so. We strongly oppose any move to privatise PSBs. The public sector banks belong to the billions and billions of citizenry and we oppose any action to hand them over to the billionaires. Though country attained Independence in 1947, it remained backward economically. Basic and broad-based economic development was the need of the hour.
But unfortunately, the then banks, which were all in private hands and many of them owned by big industrial and business houses, did not come forward to contribute in the process of developments. Agriculture sector, rural and cottage industries, small industries and businesses which were the mainstay of economy and other pivotal sectors of the economy remained neglected. Nationalisation of banks and bringing them under public sector became very critical and crucial for giving impetus to country’s growth and progress. In this background, 14 major private banks were nationalised in 1969 and six more in 1980. State Bank of India, its subsidiary banks, as well as the regional rural banks and the nationalised banks became the sheet-anchor of national economic development. Banks started reaching out to the common masses, bank branches started to be opened in rural areas and remote villages, precious savings of the people were mobilised and brought into banking system. Hitherto neglected sectors like agriculture, employment generation, productive activities, and poverty alleviation programmes, rural development, health, education, exports, infrastructure, women empowerment, small scale and medium industry, tiny and micro industries, etc., became the priority sector and focused attention of banks. Class banking was transformed into mass banking and the common man and deprived section of society could access, convenient and safe banking services. Economy got boosted and there were many large strides and achievements in the past five decades.