New Delhi: Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman has assured that not all banks will be privatised and wherever it happens, the interest of the employees will be protected. Addressing the media amid a two-day nationwide bank strike called by nine unions against the proposed privatisation, she said, “The decision of Privatization 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,” 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 strike was triggered by the government’s plan to privatise two public sector banks as part of its ambitious disinvestment drive to generate Rs. 1.75 lakh crore. The minister had also announced a deadline for the overall disinvestment project — completion of the Financial Year of 2022.
In her speech today, Sitharaman also took on Congress’s Rahul Gandhi, who has criticised the 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 tweet read.
“Rahul Gandhi has probably outsourced his comments to outsiders. These two liners do not help. I would want him in engage in serious discussion… Rahul Gandhi should think, do homework first and then level allegations against us,” the minister said.
The Congress, she added, “nationalised corruption… In UPA they were privatising public money”.