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Decision to merge nationalised banks violates national law: Civil society seminar told

Prof Jayati Ghosh, Dr Thomas Franco, Sitaram Yechury
By Our Representative
Is the Government of India decision to merge 10 nationalised banks without any legal basis? Speaking at a recent seminar organised by the Financial Accountability Network India (FANI), Dr Thomas Franco, former general secretary, All-India Bank Officers’ Confederation, said, “Bank merger is against the Banking Companies (Acquisition and Transfer of Undertakings) Act, 1970, which stipulates that the consent from board and shareholders is mandatory.”
Several participants in the seminar accused the step as a move to bail out the "struggling corporates", even as pointing out that the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) decision to transfer Rs 1.76 lakh crore to the government as per the recommendations of the Bimal Jalan-led committee would on only "mess up with public finances."
Attended by representatives of civil society organisations, unions, students, teachers and concerned citizens, Sitaram Yechury, general secretary, CPI(M), told the seminar, “The transfer of RBI’s surplus to the government would destabilise RBI, make India vulnerable in an on-going global and domestic recession.” He added, the banks merger was done "at the behest of corporates, who have been demanding this to deal with one bank than the consortium of banks for the loans.”
Jayati Ghosh, professor of economics at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), asserted, “RBI’s autonomy died in November 2016 when the government declared demonetisation. The present government is the one without any accountability. The economic mess India is in also stems from this.” He added, "RBI’s money will go towards plugging in the holes created by the demonetisation and hastily implemented GST.”
Others who spoke on the occasion included Prof CP Chandrasekhar, professor of economics, JNU; Paranjoy Guha Thakurta, journalist and author; VK Tomar, secretary-general, National Confederation of Officers’ Associations of Central PSUs; and Purushottam Sharma, leader, CPI (ML).

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