3,427 branches of nationalised banks closed or merged during Modi rule
3rd November 2019
Indore/Bhopal, November 3, 2019 (Muslim Saleem): The Right to Information (RTI) has revealed that a total of 3,427 bank branches of 26 public sector banks have been affected by the merger or branching process during the last five financial years. The special thing is that 75 percent of these branches are of the country’s largest bank State Bank of India (SBI). During this time, five of its associate banks and Bharatiya Mahila Bank have merged with SBI. This information has come to light at a time when work has started on the government’s new plan to convert 10 state-owned banks into four big banks. According to the information received by the RTI activist Chandrashekhar Gaur from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), 26 public sector banks in the country have 90 branches in the financial year 2014-15, 126 branches in 2015-16, 253 branches in 2016-17, 2017- 2,083 bank branches in 18 and 875 branches in 2018-19 were either closed or merged with other bank branches. The reason is not stated According to the reply received on the RTI application, 2,568 bank branches of SBI were affected by the merger or closure in the last five financial years. The RTI activist also wanted to know the reason for the closure of branches of public sector banks. But they did not get an answer. On this question, the central bank, citing the relevant provisions of the RTI Act, said that the information sought is not an information but an ‘opinion’.
These banks have merged
RBI said that the merger of State Bank of India with State Bank of India, State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur, State Bank of Hyderabad, State Bank of Mysore, State Bank of Patiala and State Bank of Travancore took effect from April 1, 2017. In addition, the merger of Vijaya Bank and Dena Bank with Bank of Baroda came into force from 1 April 2019.
‘7 more branches to be affected by merger of 10 more banks’
Meanwhile, employee organizations of public banks have intensified opposition to the government’s new plan to merge them. All India Bank Employees Union (AIBEA) General Secretary CH Venkatachalam told, “If the government forms four big banks by merging 10 state-owned banks in the country, at least 7,000 branches of these banks could be affected. Most of these branches will be from metros and cities. ‘
‘Banks demand merger time’
However, economist Jayantilal Bhandari is of the opinion that merger of public banks is the need of the hour. He said, ‘The state exchequer will benefit by combining small public banks with big banks. In addition, large public sector banks due to their strong financial condition will be able to distribute relatively more loans to the common people, which will lead to economic movements in the country.