Press Statement

The Communist Party of India and the Communist Party of India (Marxist) have issued the following joint statement:

Support To Bank Strike

We express deep concern at the Central government’s decision to lower government equity in public sector banks from the existing 51 per cent to 33 per cent under the garb of `reforms’. This decision of the government to reduce its holding to below 51 per cent is a direct act of privatisation.

Banks’ nationalisation was an event of great significance. During the last 31 years since nationalisation there has been unprecedented all-round growth of the banking system in the field of deposit mobilisation, branch banking, credit delivery to the rural and agricultural segments particularly to agriculture as well as to self-employed people. If India today is self-sufficient in food, milk supply and many other segments, the credit must also go to the public sector banking.

The Government decision to privatise banks will provide a cover to bank loan defaulters. According to our estimate, the unrecovered bank loans amount to a staggering figure of more than Rs. One lakh crore when overdue interest and write offs from profits and balance sheets are added to the admitted figure of Rs. 58000 crores. De-nationalisation of banks is against the interests of the country and its economy. We, therefore, call upon the Government not to proceed with the proposed bill lowering government equity below 51 per cent.

In this background, we extend our full support to the call for strike on November 15 given by the United Forum of Bank Unions — an umbrella organisation of Trade Unions of Bank employees and officers– against the proposed Privatisation Bill as well as Voluntary Retirement Scheme (VRS) which is nothing but retrenchment.

We are confident all right thinking people will come out in open protest against this anti-people move of the government.