Employees of nationalized banks staged protest against privatization.

Surat : About 4,200 employees from 154 branches of 12 nationalized banks in the city staged protest against the proposed move of the Central Government to privatize nationalized banks under the banner of Gujarat Bank Workers Union on Monday.

The employees demonstrated and shouted anti-government slogans for their proposed move to privatize the nationalized banks. The employees wore badges on their arms protesting the privatization move by the government.

The leaders of bank unions said that the proposed move by the government to privatize the nationalized banks would prove disastrous to the economy. On July 19, 1969, 14 banks were nationalized and that six more banks joined in 1980.

Private banks in the country emerged since the policy of globalization, privatization and liberalization came into force in 1991. In 1969, there were 8,000 branches of private banks in urban areas and 1,600 in rural areas. At present, these private banks operate 1.40 lakh branches in urban areas and 55,000 branches in rural areas.

Union leaders said it is a well-designed strategy of the government to lift the prices of the few private banks in the stock market in the name of privatization of the nationalized banks.

Leaders demanded that the government should seriously think in the direction of recovering bad debts, rather than wasting their time on the privatization of public sector banks. The government should announce the names of the big defaulters not paying the bank loans and initiate criminal action.

The bank leaders also demanded that the interest rates on deposit should be increased, service charges banks should be reduced and the restructuring and revival of the cooperative banks.