Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman allays concerns of job losses over merger of public sector banks

New Delhi, IndiaUpdated: Sep 01, 2019, 08:45 PM IST

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. Photograph:(ANI)

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'We are not looking at any employee being removed. I am reiterating that. Therefore, they need not have any concern on this issue,' said the Finance Minister, adding that there is no closure of any bank

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Sunday allayed the concerns of job losses in the wake of the merger of public banks.

"Absolutely ill-informed. I want to assure every union in each one of these banks to recall what I said last Friday. When we spoke about the amalgamation of banks, each time I have very clearly underlined the fact that not even one employee shall be removed," she said while addressing media persons here.

"We are not looking at any employee being removed. I am reiterating that. Therefore, they need not have any concern on this issue," said the Finance Minister, adding that there is no closure of any bank. "No bank is being asked to do something different from what they were doing earlier," she added.

On Friday, the Central government announced the merger of 10 public sector banks (PSBs) into four strong lenders with countrywide networks and global reach to boost credit and revive economic growth in the nation's bid to become a five trillion dollar economy in the next five years.

After this, the total number of PSBs will come down to 12 from 24 banks, Finance Minister Sitharaman had said. Apart from this, the government had also announced Rs 55,250 crore upfront as capital infusion in the PSBs.

Talking about the economy, which reported a sluggish growth of 5 per cent in the last quarter of the current financial year, Sitharaman said that her government was prepared to respond to the industry's "needs and suggestions."

When asked if the government acknowledges there is a slowdown in the economy, she said: "I am meeting industries and taking their inputs, suggestions on what they want and expect from government. I am responding to them. I have already done this twice. I will do it more number of times so that every industry which has approached me, I will respond."

"Across the board there is no one particular answer that I can give, saying this is the magic wand. Sectorally, what they want, we are responding.

Agriculture, for instance, after this monsoon hopefully, overall we feel that monsoon will meet the basic requirement of agriculture. Even for the farming sector, we have consultations going on. I am sure we will able to respond to them also," she said.

She said that the government is in consultation with sectors which wanted to speak to us about various measures they expect. "Having heard them and having spent some time on how we can respond, the first tranche of announcements were made on August 23. Last Friday, I made another set of announcements. The process of consultations is over. We have worked on how we can respond," she said.

The Finance Minister said the issues of each sector vary. "Automobile (sector) has an issue. Agriculture has a different issue. So each sector has a sectoral requirement, which we want to respond," she said.

Earlier in the day, former Prime Minister hit out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi led BJP government at the Centre, alleging that its "all-round mismanagement" is responsible for the "worrisome" state of the economy.

"The state of the economy today is deeply worrying. The last quarter's GDP growth rate of 5 per cent signals that we are in the midst of a prolonged slowdown. India has the potential to grow at a much faster rate but all-round mismanagement by the Modi government has resulted in this slowdown," said Singh in a statement.

"Our youth, farmers and farmworkers, entrepreneurs and the marginalised sections deserve better. India cannot afford to continue down this path. Therefore, I urge the government to put aside vendetta politics, and reach out to all sane voices and thinking minds, to steer our economy out of this man-made crisis," Singh added.