THE views aired by the chief economic advisor (CEA) to the central government and by the president of FICCI calling for privatisation of public sector banks have drawn the attention of the Bank Employees Federation of India (BEFI).
Centring round the recent episode of scam in some banks, the chief economic advisor to the government of India, has raised the question of ownership pattern of public sector banks (PSBs) meaning thereby that the central government should move first with its agenda for privatisation of the PSBs.
In an aggressive tone, the chairman of FICCI has claimed that recapitalisation efforts by the government of India have had little effect on improving the health of PSBs. Similar statement has also been issued by ASSOCHAM.
BEFI, in a statement issued on February 20, has condemned the views expressed by the representatives of the business houses and the CEA. Those who are advocating for privatisation of public sector banks (PSBs) they all know very well that the PSBs have sound asset base and are custodians of people’s savings to the tune of more than Rs100 lakh crores. The main problem with PSBs lies with huge accumulation of non-performing assets (NPAs), 78 per cent of which are due to 50 corporate houses. The central government is indifferent to initiate criminal cases against these wilful defaulters.
The fraud committed by the big traders of JEM-Jewellery and writing pens amounting around Rs 20,000 crores in some public sector banks has taken place taking advantage of the procedural shortcomings and in violation of set rules, norms and banking practices. It is unbelievable that a lower level officer or a clerk has single-handedly committed the fraud without the involvement of a nexus between a section of top executives of banks and corrupt traders/businessmen beyond the knowledge of the government, the statement said.
“While the need of the hour is to protect the confidence of depositors on public sector banks lest there be any run for withdrawal of deposits, there is a race among the top executives of the banks related to the episode to shirk the responsibility from one head to another. This is totally deplorable,” the Federation stated.
BEFI has demanded a thorough and impartial investigation by a competent agency to unearth the roots of the scam, fix accountability of the earring officials and to bring to book all the culprits whatever high position they might be holding in the banks or elsewhere.
It has appealed the customers of all banks not to get panicky and run for withdrawal of their deposits and assured that bank employees’ fraternity is committed to continue their struggle in defence of public sector banks.