Statement warning against the privatization of banks
Stop Privatisation!
Democratise Banking!

New Delhi, July 19, 2021: 19th of July is marked as the bank nationalisation day, recognising the historical decision of the Indira Gandhi government to take control of private banks. It is not an exaggeration to say that the nationalisation of banks was a decision that rewrote the history of banking in the country. Today, 52 years after nationalisation, when we are facing an unprecedented onslaught of privatisation that threatens not just the banks but every public sector enterprise and institution, the nationalisation day gains importance.

The significance of the decision lied not just in the fact of government taking ownership of banks, but the context in which the decision was taken. The period preceding nationalisation, the country was still dealing with after-shocks of the two wars – economically, socially and politically, droughts, agriculture failure, high inflation leading to devaluation of the currency. While the government of the time took the decision of nationalisation against the wishes of leading industrialists of the time like the G.D. Birla and J.R.D Tata, the government of today has surrendered to the demands of corporates like Gautam Adani and Mukesh Ambani. Today, when the country is facing a much severe crisis with the economy contracting to 7 percent, the pandemic and lockdown induced impoverishment, rising unemployment etc., the government is on a drive to sell the assets of country to hide its incompetence in governance.

The achievements of the public sector banking and its systematic dissemination in the last three decades of neo-liberal regime are for all to see. While privatization of banks had been on the agenda for the past 30 years by various governments, this government aims not just to privatise, but has a deliberate anti-poor agenda. Every economic policy of the current government has forced people into poverty – the case of banks is no different. The resolve for us, at the time when the government is likely to propose an amendment to the Banking Act, is to reaffirm the social and political vision of nationalisation.

It is important to relook banking from the perspective of social responsibility – smaller loans that help people and small businesses, affordable access to credit for marginalised and most oppressed, removal of bank charges, shifting the burden of financing large scale projects to development banks, reduce interest rates for SMEs, SHGs and farmers, revamp IBC (Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code) and stopping the loot of public money in the name of hair-cut, strengthening of cooperative and rural banking, measure of success through social profit and not absolute profit, are few crucial steps to bring back the spirit of nationalisation.

The fundamental question being whether we principally consider banking to be geared towards the people, the poor or would it be directed only towards profitability wherein the corporate sharks call the shots at the expense of people’s interest. The responsibility to democratise banking system rests on the pressure created by people and their fight for accountability rather than faith in governments. For, it was the same government which nationalised banks, that also imposed emergency, curbing all civil rights. As we live in times of an undeclared emergency where dissent is considered sedition, we have a tough but a historical responsibility to reclaim democracy and public institutions.

On the day of nationalisation, Financial Accountability Network India (FAN India) recognises the need for democratisation of banking, bringing back the focus on people rather than profit and the need to stand united against all anti-people, anti-democratic and anti-national measures of this government!!

About FAN India:

Financial Accountability Network India (FAN India) is a collective of civil society organisations, unions, people’s movements and concerned citizens to raise the issues of accountability & transparency of national financial institutions and economic issues impacting peoples’ lives.

For more information, please contact:
Priya Dharshini, +91 – 93115 48645
Financial Accountability Network India (FAN India)

Endorsed by:

  1. A V Joseph, State Bank of India Officers Association
  2. Akhil S, NCBE
  3. Amaranathan, Union Bank of India
  4. Amutha, Thulasi SHG
  5. Anand B, All India Bank Officers Confederation
  6. Anandhi, Keechankuppam Village Organising Committee
  7. Anil Kumar, UCO Bank
  8. Anirban Bhattacharya, Centre for Financial Accountability
  9. Anjali, Akkaraipettai Village Organising Committee
  10. Archana Prasad, Jawaharlal Nehru University
  11. Arun Kumar Sahoo, UCO Bank, All India Bank Officers Confederation
  12. Ashalatha S, Social Activist
  13. Ashish Kajla, Financial Accountability Network India (FAN India)
  14. Ashok Choudhary, All India Union of Forest Working People
  15. Ashok Dash, All India Bank Officers Confederation
  16. Avinash Kumar, Jawaharlal Nehru University
  17. Benny Kuruvilla, Focus on the Global South
  18. Bhagyavathi, Akaraipettai Village Organising Committee
  19. Bilal Khan, Ghar Bachao Ghar Banao Andolan
  20. C P Krishnan, Bank Employees Federation of India
  21. Chirashree Das Gupta, Jawaharlal Nehru University
  22. Deshdeep Dhankhar, University of Hyderabad
  23. Dev Desai, ANHAD
  24. Devidas Tuljapurkar, Maharashtra State Bank Employees Federation, AIBEA
  25. Dr. R. V. Kumaravelu, Fish Workers Union / NFF
  26. Dr. V. Sasi Kumar, Climate Kerala
  27. G D Nadaf, former General Secretary, AIBOC
  28. G H Krishnamurthy, KVGBOF / AIRRBOF / AIBOC
  29. Gautam Mody, New Trade Union Initiative
  30. Gokila, Street Kaliyaman Sangam
  31. Harbans Singh, UCO Bank
  32. Ilakya, Village Organisation Committee
  33. J John, Labour Rights Activist
  34. Jai Narayan Purohit, All India UCO Bank Officers Federation
  35. Janakarajan, Former Professor, Madras Institute of Development Studies
  36. Jayavalli, Thulasi Sagam
  37. Joydeep Bhowmick, All India Bank Officers Confederation
  38. K. Vennila, Women Fish Workers Federation
  39. K. B. Kulkarni, Union Bank Pensioners and Retirees Association
  40. Karthikeyan, Fisherman
  41. Kashee Nath Chatterjee, All India Peoples Science Network
  42. Khalida Parveen, Amoomat Society
  43. Koninika Ray, National Federation of Indian Women
  44. Kripal Singh Mandloi, Khudai Khidmatgar
  45. Krishnakant Chauhan, NAPM
  46. Lissy Joseph, Telangana Domestic Workers Union
  47. M. M. Gaikwad, All India Bank Officers Confederation
  48. Madhukumar, SBI Pensioners Association
  49. Madhuresh Kumar, National Alliance of People’s Movements
  50. Mehala. N, Neelakkadal
  51. Mitesh, AIBEA
  52. Meera Sanghamitra, National Alliance of People’s Movements
  53. Mudita Gupta, UCO Bank
  54. Murali, IOBOA
  55. Nagalsamy, Office of Comptroller and Auditor General of India
  56. Nasir Tyabji, Formerly with Jamie Millie Islamia
  57. P Mahesh, UCO Bank
  58. Padma Priyadharshini, UCO Bank
  59. Pakkirisamy, Youth Organisation
  60. Ponniah Rajamsnickan, AIPSN
  61. Poonkodi. P, Ocean Pearl Organisation
  62. Prafulla Samantara, Lok Shakti Abhiyan and NAPM
  63. Praveen Jha, Jawaharlal Nehru University
  64. Prince Saurabh, AIPNBOA
  65. Prem Lal Sahu, All India Bank Officers Confederation
  66. Prof Sushil Khanna, IIM Calcutta (retired) and National Working Group on Public Sector
  67. R. Elangovan, Dakshin Railway Employees Union
  68. R. Sethu, SBIPA
  69. Rajat Thakur, Journalist
  70. Raghunath TP, Pondicherry Science Forum
  71. Rajakumari, Vangakadal
  72. Rajendra Ravi, Institute for Democracy and Sustainability
  73. Rajesh, SMCC
  74. Rakesh Verma, AIUCBOF / AIBOC
  75. Rishiraj Dass, UCO Bank / AIUCBOF / AIBOC
  76. Rohit Aazad, Jawaharlal Nehru University
  77. Rupam Roy, All India Bank Officers Confederation
  78. S. Jeevan Kumar, Human Rights Forum
  79. S Nair, AIPNBPRA
  80. S. Prakash, Youth Club
  81. S.M.L. Syriac Loyola, Retired Bank Manager
  82. Sangari. K, VCS SHG
  83. Sanjeev, Dalit Adivasi Shakti Adhikar Manch
  84. Saroja, Women Fishworker Federation
  85. Shakila, Fisherwomen Federation
  86. Shashank SR, NAPM Karnataka
  87. Shriman Narayan, UCO Bank
  88. Siddharth Sunil, SRCC
  89. Sitaram Shelar, Center for Promoting Democracy
  90. Sreehari Dabbu, All India Bank Officers Confederation
  91. Sridhar V, Frontline Magazine
  92. Sridhar Ramamurthy, Environics Trust
  93. Srijan Kumar Pal, All India Regional Rural Bank Officers’ Federation, AIBOC
  94. Srijita Majumder, RTE Forum
  95. Srikanth L, Cashless Consumer
  96. Sumathi, Thulasi Sagam
  97. Sumathy, Keechankuppam Village Organising Committee
  98. Surajit Mazumdar, Jawaharlal Nehru University
  99. Suresh Garimella, Senior Researcher, Centre for Equity Studies
  100. Swathi Kalvakuntla, UCO Bank, AIBOC
  101. T Swaminathan, Retired Academic
  102. Tamilselvi, Thamari Sangam
  103. Tenzin Yanki, UCO Bank
  104. Thomas Franco, People First
  105. Uma Devi. A, Desiya Malar
  106. V. Lakshmi, Vangakadal
  107. Vappala Balachandran, Former Special Secretary, Cabinet Secretariat
  108. Venkatesh Athreya, Gulati Institute of Taxation
  109. Vijayakumari. N, Nambiyarnagar Village Coordination Sangam
  110. Vijayalakshmi, SHG Member
  111. Vijayashanthi, Sri Kali Amman Sangam
  112. Vijayan MJ, Pakistan India Peoples’ Forum for Peace and Democracy
  113. Vysakh V J, State Bank of India
  114. Dhivanisri
  115. Karthik
  116. N Kondaiah

This statement was originally published here.

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