Bank service is among the essential services as it reaches almost every citizen of the country. Disruption of bank service causes grave financial loss to the country besides inconvenience and embarrassment to the customers. We have noticed much change for the good in bank service and this improvement definitely contributes to the economic health of the country.
However, there is a disturbing situation in regard to how the bank functionaries want the Government to handle day to day and perennial problems of the banks and bank employees. It has to be noted that the recent demonetization policy of the Government has brought banks into direct focus and people have for the first time realized the importance of the banks. In such a situation people expect that the Government will adopt a policy that makes bank service secure and helpful for regulating our daily life and its needs. One day bank strike by the officers and employees of several banks under the banner of United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU) and Jammu Province Bank Employees Federation, paralyzed the bank servce. The strike has been in protest of certain deprivations forced on the functionaries and the banks. The bank functionaries are generally very sensitive and responsible employees because they know that they are dealing with vital area of services. We have contacted some of the leaders of their unions and we have learnt that the complaints/demands generally are about proper compensation to the employees and reimbursement of related costs to banks by Government on account of demonetization, improvement in superannuation benefits, total exemption of Income Tax on superannuation benefits, early initiation of process of next wage revision which is due w.e.f. November 2017, proper implementation of compassionate appointment, adequate recruitment in all cadres, five day banking and stringent measures to recover bad loans and criminal action against the willful defaulters.
A dispassionate consideration of these demands shows that by and large these are very genuine as these pertain to general welfare of the bank employee fraternity and also go in the interests of the country. What wrong is there if the employees ask that a mechanism should be evolved which will help in recovering the default repayment of loans? The Government has been liberal in reforming bank loans so as to enable people desiring to do business or take loans for education or healthcare etc. People have been happy that the Government provides them the facility. But there are customers who have become defaulters intentionally or unintentionally. It has come to the notice of the bank functionaries that some defaulters are trying to misuse their influence with bigwigs in order to delay recovery of loans along with interest. This is not advisable and not worth its salt to allow this to happen.
We find that most of the demands are genuine and should be conceded. However, if the authorities think these are not genuine, they should engage the representatives of the bank employees for constructive talks to resolve the issue. The matter should never be allowed to drift towards a situation that becomes the source of embarrassment for the people.
We entreat the authorities to call an emergency meeting of the representatives of bank employees in Jammu region and discuss the entire matter with them. May be the talks will take several sessions and that should be done at any cost. At the same time we would appeal the striking bank functionaries to give a more powerful proof of their nationalism and withdraw the call in the hope that the Government and bank authorities will find an amicable solution to the problem.