‘Will re-examine issue of accountability to Legislature’
RTI to stay, transparency good for Bank
JAMMU, Dec 4: Governor Satya Pak Malik said today that Jammu and Kashmir Bank is a registered Government company under the Companies Act and, therefore, the word ‘Public Sector Undertaking (PSU)’ has no legal connotation and assured that the Government will re-examine the issue of its (the Bank’s) accountability to the Legislature even as he declared that transparency under the Right to Information Act (RTI) is good for the bank in the long term.
The Governor maintained his stand after meeting a delegation of employees of the Jammu and Kashmir Bank, an official handout released by the State Government this afternoon said.
Several Kashmir-centric political parties had been raising hue and cry over the decision of State Administrative Council (SAC) headed by Governor declaring Jammu and Kashmir Bank as PSU and bringing it under the ambit of Right to Information Act. However, various other political parties and organizations including the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Nationalist Panthers Party (NPP) had welcomed the Government move.
“The Jammu and Kashmir Bank is registered as a Government Company under the Companies Act. The word PSU (Public Sector Undertaking) has no legal connotation. Jammu and Kashmir Bank continues to be a Government owned company. No new changes are being made here,” the Government handout said quoting the Governor as having told the delegation of the Jammu and Kashmir Bank employees.
Malik said the Jammu and Kashmir Bank is regulated by the Reserve Bank of India as an old generation Private Sector Bank, Registrar of Companies as it is a Government Company under Companies Act and by Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) as it is a listed company.
“It will continue to be regulated by the RBI, SEBI and the Registrar of Companies. No changes are being made here or contemplated,” the Governor said.
Making it clear that transparency is good for the Jammu and Kashmir Bank in the long term, Malik said: “As a Government company, Jammu and Kashmir Bank is a Public Authority under the Right to Information Act and hence is automatically subject to the transparency provisions of the RTI”.
He asserted that nothing new is being imposed in this regard.
Malik, however, assured the Jammu and Kashmir Bank employees that in view of the concerns expressed (from some quarters) and to give comfort to the employees, the Government will re-examine the issue of Bank’s accountability to the Legislature.
“As far as the accountability (of the Jammu and Kashmir Bank) to the Legislature is concerned, all Government owned/controlled companies including Jammu and Kashmir Bank, which is registered as a Government Company are accountable to the Legislature in some respect. This is what has been stated in the State Administrative Council (SAC) decision. This does not add any new element,” he said but assured that he would re-examine the issue.
Malik told the Jammu and Kashmir Bank employees that they shouldn’t be concerned about their employment, future prospectus and salary structure under any circumstances.
“The Board of the Bank is competent to take decision in this regard and the powers vest in the Board. No changes are being contemplated on this front,” he assured.
Describing Jammu and Kashmir Bank as a premier institution of the State and its financial health and future growth as of utmost importance to Jammu and Kashmir, the Governor said the Government would support all initiatives and take necessary steps to make the Bank “a vibrant institution.”
“The Board of the Jammu and Kashmir Bank is the appropriate forum for taking and implementing all decision of Jammu and Kashmir Bank. Safeguarding the autonomy and operational independence of the bank is key objective of the Government at all times,” Malik said.