Government to hold 51 percent stake in public banks

September 14th, 2008 - 9:35 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Sep 14 (IANS) In an attempt to ward off public sector banks unions’ proposed two-day strike, the government Sunday promised to retain 51 percent stake and not to privatise control and management of state-owned banks.“The government does not propose to transfer control and management of public sector banks to the private sector,” said a statement by the finance ministry.

Earlier, the United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU) called for the strike Sep 24-25 to protest against privatisation and merger of public sector banks.

“It has been made clear that the government will hold not less than 51 percent of the equity in the public sector banks and their public sector character will be preserved,” the ministry said.

The UFBU, an apex forum representing nine unions and associations of employees and officers of the public sector banks, has also demanded expeditious implementation of the memorandum of understanding between themselves and the Indian Banks’ Association (IBA) on important issues like pension option, compassionate appointment and wage revision.

The government has taken no decision as yet on the recommendations of committees headed by Raghuram Rajan and Anwarul Hoda related to the development of the financial services sector.

Terming the proposed strike “uncalled for and unjustified”, the ministry said strike would cause “great inconvenience to the public as an estimated number of eight million persons visit the branches of public sector banks on an average working day”.

The government also urged “the IBA and UFBU to expeditiously arrive at a mutually satisfactory settlement”, and expressed the hope that the UFBU would finally call off the proposed strike.

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