Bank mergers won’t lead to any job loss, assures Finance Minister

Our Bureau Chennai | Updated on September 01, 2019 Published on September 01, 2019

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said bank unions are ‘absolutely ill-informed’ on the merger of public sector banks and their concern about large-scale retrenchment is ‘unfounded’.

“I take this opportunity to reiterate what I have already said last week — that not a single employee will be removed from service on account of the merger,” Nirmala Sitharaman told press persons here on Sunday.

On Friday, the Finance Minister had announced a mega plan to merge 10 public sector banks into four as part of the government’s plan to create fewer and stronger global-sized lenders to boost economic growth.

Terming the bank merger proposal as ‘ill-timed’, various bank unions staged protests across the country on Saturday. The unions fear that the bank merger will eventually lead to retrenchment as banks will rationalise their branch operations post merger.

“Two years ago we have merged SBI with its associate banks and earlier this year Bank of Baroda was merged with Vijaya Bank and Dena Bank. Was there any single case of retrenchment ?..the answer is no,” Sitharaman said.

She also added that the government had infused more capital into banks to boost economic activity.

Responding to questions on economic slowdown and issues confronting the automobile industry, Sitharaman said that she was regularly holding discussions with members of automobile and various other industries and taking their suggestions and feedback.

“We are listening to every sector of the economy. The auto slowdown is the result of multiple factors like BS-VI migration, high inventory with dealers and customers’ decision to defer purchases,” the Finance Minister said.

Earlier in the day, Sitharaman interacted with trade and industry representatives and also had discussions with tax officials.

“This is the sixth in a series of meetings with tax administrators across the country and the purpose of the meeting is to bring a change in the mindset from ‘Tax enforcement authority’ to ‘Tax facilitating authority’,” she said.

Noting that the government’s tax collection targets are not ‘unrealistic’, Sitharaman said that the tax officials are asked not to stretch themselves or harass taxpayers.

On job losses, the Finance Minister said data pertains only to the formal sector but Indian economy employs more people in the informal sector which remains largely undocumented.

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Published on September 01, 2019
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