Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman today assured that not all banks would be privatised. She said wherever privatisation happens, the interest of the employees would be protected.
Addressing reporters while nine trade unions were observing a two-day nationwide bank strike against the proposed privatisation, Sitharaman said, “The decision of privatisation is a well thought out decision. We want Banks to get more equity… We want banks to meet the aspirations of the country”.
“Those banks which are likely to get privatised, the interest of every staff member will be protected. Interest of existing employees will be protected at all cost,” Ms Sitharaman said.
“Public sector enterprise policy very clearly says that we will continue with PSBs. Interests of the workers will absolutely be protected,” she added.
Banks across the country were shut on Saturday and Sunday. Today, key banking operations across the country have been hit by the strike, in which as many as 10 lakh bank employees are expected to participate.
The government’s plan to privatise two public sector banks, as part of its ambitious disinvestment drive to generate Rs 1.75 lakh crore, triggered panic among the notoriously inefficient and corrupt employees of public sector banks in the country. The minister had also announced a deadline for the overall disinvestment project: completion of the Financial Year of 2022.
In her speech today, Sitharaman took on INC’s former president Rahul Gandhi who had criticised the Narendra Modi government’s move in a tweet.
“GOI (the Government of India) is privatising profit & nationalising loss. Selling PSBs to Modicronies gravely compromises India’s financial security. I stand in solidarity with the striking bank employees,” Gandhi’s had tweeted.
“Rahul Gandhi has probably outsourced his comments to outsiders. These two liners do not help. I would want him to engage in serious discussion… Rahul Gandhi should think, do homework first and then level allegations against us,” Sitharaman said.
The INC, she added, had “nationalised corruption… In UPA, they were privatising public money”.