New Delhi: The opposition Congress on Tuesday demanded that the Finance Minister make a statement to address concerns expressed by 13 lakh bank employees, who are on a two-day nationwide strike to protest privatisation of two public sector banks.
Raising the issue through a Zero Hour mention in the Rajya Sabha, Leader of the Opposition and senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge said the government has taken a decision to privatise two public sector banks without consulting the 75-crore account holders, who too are a stakeholder.
Bank employees are worried about their future following the government's decision to privatise and merge public sector banks.
The nation's 12 public sector banks employ 13 lakh and have about one lakh branches across the country, he said adding the government was able to implement schemes like zero-balance Jan Dhan accounts only on the back of the public sector banks.
Also, India was largely untouched by the 2008 global financial meltdown as it had strong public sector banks.
These banks as well as public sector units are the only ones that give reservation to the deprived sections of the society, he said.
Public sector bank employees and officers began their two-day strike on Monday while employees of general insurance companies will strike work on March 17. Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) employees have given a strike call on March 18, he said.
Kharge demanded that Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman should make a statement to address concerns of employees over privatisation and mergers of banks and insurance companies.
Sitharaman was present in the House when Kharge made the demand.