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Nirmala assures not all banks will be privatized

Nirmala assures not all banks will be privatized

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New Delhi: On the second day of the two-day strike by employees of public sector banks (PSBs) on Tuesday, against privatization of banks, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman assured that the government intended to privatize no more banks.

Amid an uproar from the Opposition and bank unions over the privatization of some PSBs, she said the interests of workers of such banks will be completely protected.

Addressing the media after announcing some fresh Cabinet decisions, Sitharaman said: “I want to assure it is not that the institutions are going to be closed or workers are going to be removed. Whether it is the salaries or scale or pension of employees, all will be taken care of.”

Asserting that not all banks will be privatized, the minister said: “We have announced a Public Enterprise Policy and identified four areas with the presence of public sector. The financial sector is also included in this. But, not all banks are going to be privatized.”

Sitharaman’s statement came at a time when work in the PSBs remained paralyzed on the second consecutive day due to a nationwide strike to protest against the privatization of two PSBs. State-run banks across states have been on strike since Monday, leading to disruption in services as over 10 lakh employees have joined the protests.

Apart from IDBI Bank, two other PSBs—Bank of Maharashtra and Bank of India—are said to be on the government’s list.

Stressing on the operations of banks, Sitharaman said although there were many banks, India needed banks that could be scaled up.

“We need more banks of the size of the State Bank of India (SBI) to meet the aspirational needs of the country.” Last year, 10 PSBs were merged to form 4 leading banks.

Even those banks which are likely to be privatized, the institutions too will continue to function as before even after privatization.

She dismissed Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s tweet earlier in the day, accusing the government of “privatizing profit” and “nationalizing loss”.

She said: “I would want him to engage in serious discussions, rather than throw these kinds of two-liners every now and then.”

The UPA government also nationalized corruption.”His grandmother (Indira Gandhi) would have probably nationalized the banks, but the nationalization of losses in the banks began during UPA time. And I would want to add one more — nationalizing corruption is what they did.

“So nationalizing corruption and privatizing taxpayers’ money for the betterment of one family is all that Rahul Gandhi will have to take as a reply for that tweet…,” she said.

The minister also advised Gandhi to do some more in-depth homework before speaking.




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