RBI Employees Strike over Centre Move on November 19
By Express News Service Published: 15th November 2015 06:02 AM Last Updated: 15th November 2015 06:02 AM
BHUBANESWAR: Around 17,000 employees of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) have decided to launch cease-work on November 19 protesting the Central Government’s move to draft a financial code and legislative reforms.
As per reports, the Ministry of Finance is giving a final shape to shift Government’s debt management functions from RBI to the proposed Public Debt Management Agency (PDMA) which will function as depository of Government securities (G-Sec).
“The proposed PDMA would clip financial autonomy vested with the RBI which is relevant to the money market and affect fiscal federalism as well,” said secretary of Reserve Bank Employees’ Association (RBEA) PC Behera.
Over 400 employees of the Central bank in the State have informed RBI’s Bhubaneswar-based Regional Director for seeking mass casual leave to participate in the protest.
The RBI, by using its financial instruments, has been able to control Indian economy from crumbling during the global economic recessions of 2008 and 2011. “The Central bank has never surrendered to the Government pressure for lowering bank interest rates which would have severe impact on the national economy in the long run,” Behera added.
The bankers also opposed the proposed mechanism of the Central Government for setting up a Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) comprising seven members out of which three would be representatives from RBI. They have insisted that PDMA and MPC should be under a single authority.
For quite some time, the past Governments have been mounting pressure on RBI to mould its policies as populist ones. But the authorities of the bank have not agreed to the Centre’s proposal. Therefore, the current Government is virtually keen to take over the functions of RBI under the pretext of legislative reforms, a bank employee alleged.
The strike would hit a transaction of more than `1000 crore directly or indirectly in the State, source said.
Other demands raised by the employees are upgrading of pension and giving one more pension option for employees who are currently deprived of it in post-retirement.
The RBI staff members have also been pursuing the demand for improvement in pension, as their basic pension once fixed, does not increase.
Though the RBI’s pension scheme is similar to that of the Centre’s, RBI pensioners are not entitled to periodic revision in pension. Revised pension was granted to pre-2002 retirees by the RBI Central Board, but the government withdrew it unilaterally, Ghosh said.
Having failed to get an improved pension scheme despite peaceful ways of protest over the last eight years, the RBI staff and retirees are compelled to mobilise and prepare for a fight, he added.