Nirmala Sitharaman, the Union Finance Minister, has clarified that not all banks will be privatized and that no matter what happens, the interests of employees will be secured. She made the remarks while speaking to the media during a two-day nationwide bank strike called by nine unions in protest of the planned privatization.
“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”. She added.
“Those banks which are likely to get privatized, the interest of every staff member will be protected. The interest of existing employees will be protected at all cost,” Ms. Sitharaman said.
More statements by Sitharaman:
“Public sector enterprise policy very clearly says that we will continue with PSBs. Interests of the workers will absolutely be protected,” Nirmala Sitharaman added.
On Saturday and Sunday, all banks were closed across the country. The strike, which is expected to involve as many as 10 lakh bank employees, has hit main banking operations across the country today.
The government’s decision to privatize two public sector banks as part of its ambitious disinvestment drive to raise 1.75 lakh crore sparked the strike. The minister also set a deadline for the total disinvestment program, stating that it will be completed by the end of the Financial Year 2022.
Ms. Sitharaman used her speech today to condemn Congressman Rahul Gandhi, who had criticized the government’s action in a tweet.
“GOI (the Government of India) is privatizing profit & nationalizing loss. Selling PSBs to Modicronies gravely compromises India’s financial security. I stand in solidarity with the striking bank employees,” Mr. Gandhi’s tweet read.
“Rahul Gandhi has probably outsourced his comments to outsiders. These two liners do not help. I would want him to engage in serious discussion… Rahul Gandhi should think, do homework first and then level allegations against us,” the minister said.
Sitharaman added, “The Congress nationalized corruption… In UPA they were privatizing public money”.