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Why are bank officers, trade unions protesting?

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Bank officers and trade unions launched a nationwide protest against the proposed privatisation of public sector banks at New Delhi’s Jantar Mantar on Tuesday.

Why are bank officers, trade unions protesting?
Bank officers and trade unions launched a nationwide protest against the proposed privatisation of public sector banks at New Delhi’s Jantar Mantar on Tuesday. Led by the All India Bank Officers' Confederation (AIBOC), the awareness campaign 'Bank Bachao Desh Bachao' rally was attended by officers and other stakeholders from various parts of the country.
Why are the bankers protesting?
The Centre will introduce the Banking Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2021 in the ongoing Winter session of Parliament. The bill aims to amend the provision in the Banking Companies (Acquisition and Transfer of Undertakings) Act, 1970, which makes it mandatory for the government to hold 51 percent stake in public sector banks at all times. The new bill will reduce the government's minimum shareholding to 26 percent.
The government argues that privatisation of two banks would bring better receipts to the exchequer and also help meet disinvestment targets, Business Standard reported.
In Budget 2021-22, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had announced the government’s plan to privatise public sector banks as part of a disinvestment drive to garner Rs 1.75 lakh crore.
Government think tank Niti Aayog has shortlisted the two banks -- Central Bank of India and Indian Overseas Bank -- for disposal, although the government is yet to finalise the two candidates.
In the previous session, the Parliament had approved the General Insurance Business (Nationalisation) Amendment Bill, 2021, which allows the privatisation of state-run general insurance companies. The bill amended the earlier provision by which the Centre had to hold at least 51 percent equity capital in a specified insurer.
What are the bankers saying?
Bankers have appealed to the government to withdraw the Banking Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2021.
"In case the government tables and passes the bill paving the way for the privatisation of the public sector banks. The bank officers will unite all the stakeholders of the banking sector and launch a nationwide agitation," AIBOC general secretary Soumya Datta said.
Meanwhile, Maha Gujarat Bank Employees’ Association (MGBEA) has called a two-day strike on December 16 and 17 to protest the proposed privatisation of two banks.
Around 70,000 bank employees and officers will strike work as 4,800 branches of public sector banks to remain close on these two days across the state, The Times of India reported.
“Public money is for public welfare and it should not be moved to private hands,” Janak Rawal, general secretary of MGBEA, told The Times of India. “The government must realise that all the government schemes are being effectively implemented by the nationalised banks instead of private counterparts and the efforts should instead be made to strengthen public sector banks than shut them down,” he said.
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