Representative image.
Representative image.

Higher accountability of public sector banks needed, not their outright sale: Congress

ANI | Updated: Mar 15, 2021 22:53 IST


New Delhi [India], March 15 (ANI): The Congress said on Monday that it stands in solidarity with 10 lakh bank officials and staff participating in the strike "against reckless privatisation of public sector banks".
In a statement, Congress general secretary Randeep Singh Surjewala alleged that the government is running away from its responsibility of "ensuring better governance in public sector banks by recklessly selling these public sector lenders".
"What we really need is higher accountability of public sector banks and not their outright sale. Public sector banks have been at the forefront of lending to the priority sectors like public infrastructure roads and also rural areas which need financing," he said.
Surjewala said that the United Forum of Bank Union (UFBU), an umbrella body of nine bank unions, has called for a two-day "nationwide strike on March 15 and 16 against the privatisation of public sector banks and retrograde banking reforms".
"The strike called by United Forum of Bank Union is against the ill-placed priorities of the Modi government. The Modi government is responsible for the inconvenience being faced by the people. There is no rationale for selling state-owned lenders to private lenders - foreign or domestic. This is yet again a desperate attempt to meet the disinvestment target of Rs 1.75 lakh crore," he said.
He said even experts like former RBI governor Dr Raghuraman Rajan have warned against it and red-flagged it by calling it a "colossal mistake".
Surjewala said the whole idea of bank nationalisation was to bring banking closer to every Indian.

"The aim was to make banks and loans available even for those who do not meddle in high street finance. PSU banks are not just profit-making ventures they have been in the past used as vehicles of social reforms."
Surjewala said a very large part of the country's population lives in rural areas and are involved in agriculture.
"We need public sector banks for outreach and to ensure banking is more accessible to the largest number of population that we have in villages and smaller towns, which aren't high on the priority list of private lenders".
He alleged that the government is running away from its responsibility of "ensuring better governance in public sector banks by recklessly selling these public sector lenders".
"What we really need is higher accountability of public sector banks and not their outright sale. Public sector banks have been at the forefront of lending to the priority sectors like public infrastructure roads and also rural areas which need financing," he said.
The Congress leader said that Modi government forced ONGC to acquire HPCL, a move with no benefits for the oil explorer.
"But in the bargain, ONGC's cash reserves were eroded by 91% and today the company is forced to spend less than half of what it did on oil exploration in 2014, consequently domestic oil production has dipped under the Modi regime," he said.
"The government needs to get out of the mindset of running a 'hum do humare do' government and instead focus on the welfare of every Indian - including the poor and marginalised," he added. (ANI)

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