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Bank employees shouldered worst impact of demonetisation: Unions

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By Bappaditya Chatterjee and Venkatachari Jagannathan 

Kolkata/Chennai, Nov 2 : As bank customers suffered by waiting in long queues to withdraw their money from November onwards last year, another group of people — bank employees — endured the hardship of extended work hours and customer anger.

The employees, say bank unions, bore the major brunt of the sudden decision announced on November 8 last year by the Prime Minister.

“Banking personnel were rigorously working towards recovery of bad loans before the announcement of demonetisation, but the entire drive of recovery got derailed after the announcement as employees had to work day and night for giving service to depositors,” Sanjay Das, Assistant General Secretary of the All India Bank Officers’ Confederation, told IANS.

The bank unions said that of the more than 100 persons who lost their lives during the demonetisation chaos, over 10 were bank employees and officers.

Das said that despite the enormous amount of extra work put in by the employees, very few were compensated. “Over 50 per cent of employees and officers are yet to get their compensation for the extra work they did during the demonetisation period,” Das said.

According to C.H. Venkatachalam, General Secretary of the All India Bank Employees’ Association, the whole experience had left “a big scar in the minds of bankers”. He said a million bank employees handling 1,000 million people coming to branches to deposit old notes was certainly a big task.

He said the bankers were abused by the general public for not disbursing new notes and diverting the same to others. “The RBI made matters worse by saying that sufficient number of new notes were disbursed to banks,” he added.

He said the bank managements were not bothered about the problems faced by branch officials. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) also asked bankers to work on Saturdays and Sundays. Officials in the branch were in office till late in the evening. Although some clerical staff, he said, were paid overtime, officers were left out.

Pradip Biswas, General Secretary of the Bank Employees Federation of India, said that not only employees but even the banks had not been reimbursed by the government for the cost incurred on recalibration of ATMs.

Criticising demonetisation, Biswas doubted that the whole exercise was done to unearth black money as claimed by the government. “The annual report of the RBI revealed that Rs 15.28 lakh crore, or 99 per cent of Rs 15.44 lakh crore of scrapped notes, came back into the system after demonetisation. Now the question arises: was the demonetisation scheme designed to convert black money into white?” Biswas wondered.

He said the government had described it as a fight against black money, funding of terrorist outfits and counterfeit currency. “But all their claims have fallen flat,” he said.

“The scrapping of notes failed miserably in addressing its objective of striking a blow against the black economy. Instead, the side effect of the note ban has impacted the banking industry adversely,” said Das, who is also the West Bengal State Secretary for the union.

The massive inflows of bank notes put a strain on the banks’ daily operations and banking personnel were not able to focus on credit disbursement, which resulted in potential loss of banks’ income, Das said, adding that bank credit growth came down to about 5.1 per cent in 2016-17 from an average of 11.72 per cent in the previous five years.

The apex bank too has mentioned that banks’ preoccupation with exchange of notes and deposits was one the factors for low credit growth. “Credit growth touched a low in more than two decades on account of factors such as subdued state of economic activity, risk aversion of the banking sector… loan repayment by use of specified bank notes (old notes) and banks’ pre-occupation with exchange of notes and deposits following demonetisation,” said the RBI’s latest annual report.

D. Thomas Franco Rajendra Dev, General Secretary of the All India Bank Officers Confederation, said that, initially, they had welcomed the government’s move. “But it turned out to be a nightmare for the bankers.”

He said people thought bankers were at fault for not disbursing the new notes, but “the RBI supplied new currencies only to private banks daily and not to government-owned banks”.

Read more…Negative impact of demonetisation on economy transitory: Rating agencies

Dev said the government should probe whether new notes found their way into the hands of industrialists and businessmen directly from the currency printing presses.

But some senior bank officers differ with the unions about the impact of demonetisation on the economy in the long run. “Right now people are complaining, but one thing is certain that (huge) money has come into circulation. Banks have accessed low-cost deposits and, subsequently, lenders have reduced the lending rates,” said Punjab National Bank Executive Director Sanjiv Sharan.

One year down the line, economic conditions would improve, and with the government’s thrust on low-cost housing and infrastructure development, credit demand would grow, he added.

“For the time being it may seem that demonetisation is disturbing the economy. But in the long run, it will help it,” Sharan contended.

IANS

(Note Ban Series)

India

SC comes to the rescue of DU law student, gives her shot at career in law

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Delhi University

The past two years have been tumultuous for law student Ankita Meena. Amid several legal adversities, she continued to put a brave face and cleared all the hurdles in finishing her law studies at Delhi University.

In second year, she was not allowed to write her exams, as she missed classes due to the advanced stage of her pregnancy. Her miseries were quadrupled after her results for fourth, fifth and sixth semesters were also withheld. Yet she did not give up and continued the battle in the top court, which reached its finality on Friday. The Supreme Court has now directed the Delhi University to declare the fifth semester results, which would allow her to have a shot at a career in law.

On Friday, a bench headed by Chief Justice S.A. Bobde and comprising Justices A.S. Bopanna and V. Ramasubramanian said: “The IA (intervention application) and the SLP (special leave petition) are disposed of, directing the university to declare the fifth semester supplementary examination results of the petitioner and issue the provisional degree along with necessary certificates, provided she had passed the examinations, subject to the petitioner clearing the other formalities.”

Meena joined the three-year LLB course at Law Centre II, Faculty of Law, Delhi University, in August 2016. By the time she joined the course, she was already married for about five months. She completed the first three semesters without any hindrance. However, she fell short of the required attendance mark during the fourth semester, due to two difficulties: One, she gave birth to a baby in February 2018; and second, the teachers’ association went on strike in middle of March, hence classes were impacted.

In May 2018, when she was in second year, the top court declined to give her permission to write her exams as she had missed her classes due to her pregnancy. The court noted that it was “very uncomfortable” to pass an order at 1 pm on her plea to sit in the exam scheduled an hour later.

In October 2018, the top court permitted her to attend classes at her own risk on completion of the required formalities.

In February 2019, the court directed the university to permit her to attend the classes for sixth semester as per its October 2018 order. On July 5, 2019, the Supreme Court directed the university to permit her to appear in the fifth semester supplementary examination scheduled the next day.

In July 2020, the apex court directed that her results for fourth and sixth semesters be declared. Following these orders, Meena appeared for fourth, fifth and sixth semester exams.

The university had declared the results of the fourth and fifth semester examinations, but did not declare the results for the fifth semester supplementary examination. The top court noted that Meena has completed the course in entirety and the results of all the semester examinations except the fifth semester supplementary examination have already been declared.

Directing the university to declare the fifth semester results, the top court said: “This order is passed under the peculiar facts and circumstances of the case.”

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Kangana Ranaut talks about a ‘mistake’ Sushant Singh Rajput made

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kangana ranaut

Bollywood actress Kangana Ranaut on Friday opened up on what she feels is a mistake committed by late actor Sushant Singh Rajput.

Reacting to a tweet by a news portal appreciating her performance in last year’s sports drama Panga, the actress tweeted saying she needs no validation of polls and juries anymore.

In this cointext, the actress claimed that Sushant Singh Rajput made the mistake of letting others decide who he was.

“I need no validation of polls or juries anymore, when we give them power over us then only mafia gives them price tag, Sushant made this mistake he let them decide who he was, remember if you don’t know who you are the world will tell you,
I know who I am so thanks but no thanks,” Kangana tweeted.

In a separate tweet, the actress mentioned: “…when people or system fail you it becomes all the more important to be kind to yourself, most people hate themselves because others fail to love them, never make that mistake. Know your worth.”

Sushant was found dead in his Mumbai apartment on June 14 last year. His death is still being investigated.

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India

CWC meet: Senior leaders engage in verbal spat over internal elections

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Ashok Gehlot

The Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting on Friday witnessed some heated exchange of words among Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, senior leader Anand Sharma and several other dissenters over internal elections, party sources said.

According to a party source, Sharma, Ghulam Nabi Azad and P. Chidambaram raised the issue of the elections for the CWC post.

Following the issue of the elections, Gehlot ticked off the dissenters without naming them and said that a few party leaders keep on demanding for the organisational elections instead of discussing how to deal with the BJP.

The source also said that the Rajasthan Chief Minister has stated that party leaders are wasting time discussing irrelevant issues like party elections.

“We should leave the matters and decisions to the party’s president,” Gehlot said.

He also questioned the party leaders: “If they don’t believe the party leadership (Sonia Gandhi) or not?”.

Gehlot was backed by senior party leader Ambika Soni, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh, Tariq Anwar and former Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy.

Hitting back at Gehlot, Sharma said that few members of the party keep on disrespecting the senior leaders.

Following the ugly verbal spat among the senior leaders, former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi intervened to placate both the groups.

However, party leaders at a press conference maintained that there was no such verbal war in the CWC, which is the highest decision making body of the party.

After the CWC meet, Congress General Secretary (Organisation) K. C. Venugopal said that the party will have an elected president by June this year at any cost.

“The CWC discussed the schedule of Congress president’s elections in May-end, proposed by its election authority. All CWC members unanimously requested Congress president that the internal elections should not interfere with the Assembly polls,” Venugopal said.

Congress national media in-charge Randeep Singh Surjewala said that “don’t get misguided and don’t fall for rumours”.

“The leaders whose names have been taken are not dissenters — they are our respected leaders and they are our family members. And we all were unanimous that the party election schedule be postponed for a month,” Surjewala said at a press briefing after the meeting.

Responding to the question of senior leaders sparring over the organisational election issue, Venugopal said, “There was no big debate in the CWC. We will conduct party election as per its constitution. And the schedule will be out very soon.”

“Some change in schedule was required due to coming Assembly elections (in Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Assam, West Bengal, and Puducherry) and that was taken into consideration; the party will announce the election schedule accordingly,” he said.https://df6bd6113aa2538c990afac925a9dc43.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html

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