Banking operations were partially hit in the city following the nationwide strike by public and private sector bank employees, even as India’s largest public sector bank State Bank of India stayed away from the protest on Thursday.
The nationwide strike was called by Bank Employees Federation of India (BEFI), All India Bank Employees Association (AIBEA) and All India Bank Officers Association against a bill that sought to increase the ceiling on voting rights of the public sector banks from one per cent to 10 per cent and that of the private sector from 10 per cent to 26 per cent, said BEFI general secretary C P Krishnan.
The stir was backed by the private sector banks, who felt the move to enhance the ceiling on voting rights up to 26 per cent in private sector banks, in the background of foreign direct investment being allowed up to 74 per cent, will virtually allow these banks to be taken over giant foreign banks, Karur Vysya Bank Employees’ president P Viswanathan said.
He said State Bank of India’s unions National Confederation of Bank Employees as well as All India Bank Officers Association extended moral support to the stir. This is the fifth nationwide strike by the bank employees.
Krishnan said the clearing house operations came to a grinding halt in 65,000 branches of public and private sector banks. Demonstrations were held in Chennai Kancheepuram and Vellore he added.
“Five corporates forming a cartel can virtually control nationalized banks while the name board will remain ‘A Government of India undertaking’,” Krishnan alleged.
He said despite the excellent service rendered by public sector banks, regional rural banks and cooperative banks, more than 50 crore people did not have bank account and 85 per cent had no access to bank credit, 95 per cent of the villages did not have a bank branch.
Krishnan urged for the expansion of the public sector banking industry to rural India.