Four bank officers' unions on Monday opposed the government's proposal to privatise two public sector banks (PSBs) and one general insurance company in the next financial year. "Other than IDBI Bank, we propose to take up the privatisation of two public sector banks and one general insurance company in the year 2021-22," Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said while presenting the Budget in Parliament.
The move would require legislative amendments, she said adding, "I propose to introduce the amendments in this Session itself". Sitharaman also proposed to amend the Insurance Act, 1938 to increase the permissible FDI limit from 49 per cent to 74 per cent in insurance companies.
Four bank officers' union – All India Bank Officers' Confederation (AIBOC), All India Bank Officers' Association (AIBOA), Indian National Bank Officers' Congress (INBOC) and National Organisation Of Bank Officers (NOBO) said the proposal for sale of public sector enterprises is to prepare the ground for the corporates and foreign companies to take control of the public sector space. "We register our strong opposition to the proposed amendment of the Bank Nationalisation and Insurance laws to facilitate such privatisation and enhance the permissible FDI limit in the insurance sector from 49 to 74 per cent," the four unions said in a joint release.
They said in the era of'Bank Nirbhar Bharat',where all the schemes of the government are being implemented by the public sector banks, the proposal to privatise two PSBs is retrograde and inimical to the national interest. The unions said in the last five decades, the state-run banks have played a pivotal role in the rapid economic development of the country, infrastructure development, upliftment of the economically weaker section of the society, women, farmers, the MSME sector and in bridging the regional disparities.
They urged the government to roll back the strategic disinvestment plan and have a public consultation with the stakeholders, including the trade unions before taking any further steps.