From 2nd October 2021, employees of the Maharashtra State Bank from all over Maharashtra began a signature campaign to oppose the privatization of public sector banks. We are pleased to publish a report received from Shri Mahesh Ghodake, an active member of the Maharashtra State Bank Employees Federation, Latur, an affiliate of the All India Bank Employees Association.
(English translation of the report from Marathi)
More than 52 years ago the then Prime Minister of India Mrs. Indira Gandhi took the step of nationalising private sector banks. After nationalisation, banking in India expanded rapidly with bank branches spread across the country. The current government has now declared that it will be beginning privatisation of public sector banks. On the occasion of the 152nd birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, members of the Maharashtra State Bank Employees Federation in Latur have started a signature campaign to oppose the privatisation move. They will continue the campaign for at least 15 days. Already more than 5000 signatures of customers have been collected from across Latur.
The signature campaign was started by a public declaration of opposition to this privatisation move by Professor Ransubhe and Shri Arundada Kulkarni from Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana. After garlanding the statue of Mahatma Gandhi Shri Arundada Kulkarni explained how public sector banks have contributed significantly to the progress of farmers and hence the relation between farmers (i.e. बळीराजा) and public sector banks is unbreakable. “If public sector banks are privatised then who will help the farmers?” he questioned. He promised the bank employees of full active support and urged them to spread the message as to why the privatisation of public sector banks should be opposed by organising gramsabhas in all the villages.
In his concluding remarks the leader of bank employees, Comrade Uttam Holikar pointed out that on the one hand government keeps giving the slogan of “Jai Jawan Jai Kisan”, but on the other hand it is pushing for privatisation of public sector enterprises in the defence sector. On returning from USA, the Prime Minister of India visited the wasteful Vista project but does not find time to visit and talk to the peasants who have been agitating for more than 10 months with more than 700 peasants having lost their lives, said Comrade Holikar. That is why he said that the fight against privatisation of public sector enterprises is not just a fight of employees alone but of all the people from our homes and bastis, of peasants, workers, chaiwalas, hawkers and middle class people all over the country. That is why all the speakers said that we all shall defeat the privatisation move following the Gandhian principle of non-violence, he declared.
The members of the Maharashtra State Bank Employees Federation started this novel signature campaign and mass awakening program in Latur from 2nd October 2021. In front of the main branch of Latur they started having personal dialogue with Bank customers from various sections of society including traders, small scale manufacturers, hawkers and common citizens. They explained how bank privatisation will have an adverse impact on the economy and on the daily life of working people. Through this dialogue they got a large number of people to sign the petition opposing the privatisation of public sector banks.
All the bank employees in Latur city have started the signature campaign against the privatisation policy of the government. After the conclusion of the campaign the signatures will all be collected together and this appeal of the masses will be collectively sent to the Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi and Lok Sabha speaker Mr. Om Birla.