Rs 80 lakh cr public money at risk if PSBs privatised: UFBU

Strongly opposing Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s plans to privatise all public sector banks (PSBs), the Unted Forum of Banking Unions on Thursday said that it could imperil Rs 80 lakh crore hard-earned money belonging to the people.

UFBU Convenor Devidas Tuljapurkar said that the move could prove counterproductive as the private sector banks will work towards “accounting profits” vis-a-vis the PSBs which strive towards “social profits”.

To protest the move to privatise the PSBs, the UFBU will go on a two-day nationwide strike on March 15-16, he said.

“India is still confronted by poverty, unemployment, hunger, there is acute economic disparity and geographical imbalances There is a need to implement social sector lending schemes in which the private sector banks hardly contribute,” Tuljapurkar said.

He pointed out that in the implementation of the Jan Dhan Scheme, the share of private sector banks is less than 5 per cent and their share is also insignificant for other schemes like Mudra, Swadhan, Stand UP India, Make In India, etc. which are intended for employment generation.

The common man will be pushed out of the orbits of banking and in turn, development which is unaffordable, while putting at risk Rs 80 lakh crore savings of the people, Tuljapurkar warned.

Referring to the “dismal track record” of the private sector banking in India, he said whenever they collapse, it is the PSBs which bail them out.

When Yes Bank was on the verge of a crash, the government intervened and the State Bank of India bailed it out, and earlier helped another important private sector NBFC, the ILFS, along with the LIC, he noted.

In the past, after the Karad Bank collapsed with the unfolding the Harshad Mehta scam, the Bank of India helped prop it up, and later, the Global Trust Bank crashed with the revelations of the Ketan Parekh scam and it was the Oriental Bank of Commerce which helped it out, he added.

“Today, the biggest challenge before the Indian banks is non-performing assets in which the share of the corporate sector is over 70 per cent and they are ‘day-dreaming’ to be the owners of these PSBs now. It is most unfortunate that the PM is facilitating it which may prove to be disastrous for the savings of the masses,” Tuljarpurkar said.

Moreover, even now several private sector banks are struggling for survival on account of some of the dealings of the dubious private and corporate sectors, he added.