On August 7 2018, the government officially withdrew its proposed Financial Resolution and Deposit insurance Bill (2017). This Bill aimed to redefine the regulatory framework by introducing a Resolution Corporation (RC) that would have powers to merge, sell, liquidate any financial institution based on its assessment of their health. This would have effectively undermined the powers of RBI and other regulators. Further clauses like the “Bail-in” would have turned deposits of the people into equity of a loss-making bank. The Bill rightly saw strong opposition from all sections of the society – common people, academics, civil society organisations, bank unions and individuals. The collective effort of the people has today pushed back one of the anti-people legislatures.
What has resulted in this significant victory is a concerted effort by a large number of people and organisations, coming from diverse sectors and strata of the society. From sending submissions to the joint parliamentary committee, helping organise public meetings on the dangers of FRDI Bill in various regions across the country, sending online letters to MPs requesting them to take a position against the FRDI Bill and contributing in bringing out our critique “Wrong Diagnosis, Harmful Prescription: A Critique of Financial Resolution and Deposit Insurance (FRDI) Bill, 2017”, the coordinated, timely and consistent effort had a big role in this collective victory. This collective would also like to reiterate that the FRDI Bill was only one of the long list of attempts aiming at the destruction and privatisation of public sector banks. And we would fight any future attempts of introducing the Bill and thwart all efforts at privatising the public sector banks.
This is only a small step towards strengthening public sector banks. We need more organisations and individuals to engage with finance and financial institutions. It is only with constant monitoring of the changing financial policies and through public actions can we ensure proper functioning of the PSBs and resist their privatisation. In the end, we need to ensure transparency and accountability because it is our money.