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Bank strike on March 15, 16: Branches to be shut for next four days

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New Delhi, Mar 12: To protest against the Centre's plan to privatise the public sector banks, employees of India's banks are set to go on strike next week.

Nearly 10 lakh employees of the public sector banks and old generation private banks will go on strike on March 15 and 16.

Bank strike on March 15, 16: Branches to be shut for next four days

In her budget speech, Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman announced the privatisation of public sector banks as part of the government's disinvestment drive to generate Rs 1.75 lakh crore.

Prior to the strike on March 15 and 16, the bass are scheduled to be closed on March 13-second Saturday and Sunday. This would mean that the banking services will be impacted for four days.

However ATMs are likely to function for the next four days.

Cheque clearances, opening of new accounts, issue of demand drafts and loan processing are likely to be affected March 17. The State Bank of India said arrangements have been made for normal functioning in all branches and offices. However it added that work may be impacted due to the strike.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman during her Budget speech earlier this month announced plans to privatise two public sector banks.

About 10 lakh bank employees and officers under the banner of United Forum of Unions consisting of nine unions AIBEA, AIBOC, NCBE, AIBOA, BEFI, INBEF, INBOC, NOBW, NOBO are agitating against government''s proposal, AIBEA said in a statement.

The bank unions, after Friday''s dharna, will stage protests across the country in the next 15 days. "On 10th March, we will hold a protest demonstration before Parliament during the Budget session," AIBEA said.

Thereafter, 10 lakh employees and officers of the banks will observe two days of continuous strike on 15-16 March, 2021. "If the government proceeds further, we will intensify the agitation and go for prolonged strikes and indefinite strike. We demand of the government to reconsider their decision," AIBEA added.

The union said after India got independence no private sector bank came forward to help the economic development of the country that necessitated the nationalisation of major private sector banks in 1969.
Since then, banks have made great strides and have played a significant role in the country''s development and from 8,000 bank branches in 1969, today there are as many as 100,000 bank branches across India, of which many are in rural areas.

AIBEA said from 2010 to 2020, public sector banks have earned a total profit of Rs 14,57,000 crore.

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    "The only problem facing banks is the bad loans. Most of the bad loans are by the corporates and rich industrialists. Instead of taking action on them, the government wants to privatise and hand over the banks to them," AIBEA General Secretary C H Venkatachalam said.

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