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Urban co-op bank employees to stage black badge protest on Monday

Written by: Staff

Mumbai, Mar 17 (UNI) Employees of Co-operative banks in the State owing allegiance to the Maharashtra Urban Co-operative Banks' Federation Limited (MUCBFL), will observe a 'black badge day' on March 20 in protest against the Union Finance Minister's in the Central budget to impose income tax on them.

Announcing this at a press conference here today, MUCBFL Chairman Mukund Ghaisas said the income tax imposition on the lines of that payable by commercial banks, both public sector and private, ''will have grave repurcussions on the well-being of this sector in many ways.'' Mr Ghaisas said that representations have been made to the relevant authorities requesting them to withdraw this tax. ''The national federation of co-operative banks has constituted a eleven-member working group, of which five members are from Maharashtra, to take this matter up at appropriate levels.'' While the black badge is the first step in expressing opposition to the imposition of income tax, ''we will not hesitate to even call for a strike if it is not withdrawn,'' he warned.

Pointing out that the tax on co-operative banks ''will obstruct the process of capital formation,'' Mr Ghaisas said that because of this imposition, urban co-operative banks ''will not be able to achieve the capital adequacy norms stipulated by the Reserve Bank of India.'' ''This, in turn, will affect the gradation of the banks due to non-compliance of prescribed norms and ultimately, the banks will not get any benefit of the many facilities given by RBI for strong banks,'' he said adding, ''Urban co-operative banks are by nature, social organisations, where profits are not the sole motive unlike commercial banks,'' while pointing out that the urban co-op banks have to lend up to 60 per cent to the priority sector out of which 25 per cent has to be lent to the weaker sections.

''This alone is sufficiently indicative of the nature of urban co-op banks,'' Mr Ghaisas said. He further added that commercial banks, on the other hand, have to lend only 40 per cent to the priority sector.

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