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Why Privatisation of IDBI or other public banks is necessitated


Danendra Jain

IDBI Bank is an Indian government-owned financial service company. It was formerly known as Industrial Development Bank of India. Headquartered of IDBI Bank is in Mumbai, India. It was established in 1964 by an Act of Parliament to provide credit and other financial facilities for the development of the Indian industry.

IDBI is 10th largest development bank in the world in terms of reach. It has opened 3203 ATMs, 1809 branches, including one overseas branch at Dubai, and 1343 centers, including two overseas centres at Singapore & Beijing. It is one of 27 commercial banks owned by the Government of India.The Bank has an aggregate balance sheet size of INR 3.56 trillion ( Rs356000 crore )as on 31 March 2015 Development Banking emerged after the Second World War and the Great Depression in 1930s. The demand for reconstruction funds for the affected nations compelled in setting up of national institutions for reconstruction. At the time of Independence in 1947, India had a fairly developed banking system. The adoption of bank dominated financial development strategy was aimed at meeting the sectoral credit needs, particularly of agriculture and industry. Reserve Bank concentrated on regulating and developing mechanisms for institution building. The commercial banking network was expanded to cater to the requirements of general banking and for meeting the short-term working capital requirements of industry and agriculture.

Specialised development financial institutions (DFIs) such as the IDBI, NABARD, NHB and SIDBI, etc., with majority ownership of the Reserve Bank were set up to meet the long-term financing requirements of industry and agriculture.

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Formation of Industrial Development Bank of India (IDBI)

The Industrial Development Bank of India (IDBI) was established in 1964 under an Act of Parliament as a wholly owned subsidiary of the Reserve Bank of India. In 1976, the ownership of IDBI was transferred to the Government of India and it was made the principal financial institution for coordinating the activities of institutions engaged in financing, promoting and developing industry in India. IDBI provided financial assistance, both in rupee and foreign currencies, for green-field projects as also for expansion, modernisation and diversification purposes.

In the year 1991 our government adopted policy of reformation and liberlisation to meet Internatioal standards in banking. IDBI also provided indirect financial assistance by way of refinancing of loans extended by State-level financial institutions and banks and by way of rediscounting of bills of exchange arising out of sale of indigenous machinery on deferred payment terms. IDBI was allowed to issue shares and accordingly it came with public issue in the eyar 1995. After the public issue of IDBI in July 1995, the Government shareholding in the Bank came down from 100% to 75%.

IDBI played a pioneering role, particularly in the pre-reform era (1964-91), in catalyzing broad based industrial development in India in keeping with its development banking charter as prescribed by Government of India. Some of the institutions built with the support of IDBI are theSecurities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI),National Stock Exchange of India (NSE), National Securities Depository Limited (NSDL), Stock Holding Corporation of India Limited (SHCIL),Credit Analysis & Research Ltd, Exim Bank (India), Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) and Entrepreneurship Development Institute of India.

Conversion of IDBI into a commercial bank

A committee formed by RBI under chairmanship of S.H.Khan recommended the development financial institution (IDBI) to diversify its activity to commercial bankig . To keep up with reforms in financial sector, IDBI reshaped its role from a development finance institution to a commercial institution. With the Industrial Development Bank (Transfer of Undertaking and Repeal) Act, 2003, IDBI attained the status of a limited company viz., IDBI Ltd.

Subsequently, in September 2004, the Reserve Bank of India incorporated IDBI as a 'scheduled bank' under the RBI Act, 1934. Consequently, IDBI, formally entered the portals of banking business as IDBI Ltd. from 1 October 2004. The commercial banking arm, IDBI BANK, was merged into IDBI in 2005

Why Strike In IDBI Bank

The united platform of IDBI bank remained on four day strike from March 28 to March 31. Dispute came to light when Finance Minister Mr. Arun Jaitley said in his Budget speech that the government will consider taking its stake in the bank to below 50% from the current 80%. This news has created situation when bank staff decided to go for strike.These leaders claim that they have the support of 12000 employees. They say that they are against disinvestment plan of the government but the stake of the government should not go below 50%

Bank is already passing through critical phase due to stressed assets. Leaders of trade union associated with IDBI have told clearly that they are against privatization plan. They want written assurance that the shareholding of the center in IDBI bank will remain at not less than 51% at all times as assured earlier on the floor of Parliament. They also want that the wage settlement pending since November 2012 be implemented immediately.

AIBEA is protesting privatization of IDBI and merger plan for other banks. They say rise in bad debts is due to government, but they do not say why they did not protest misuse of banks by politicians and why did they not stop exploitation of bank by bank staff. They do not say why did they allow the loot of banks through bank staff for decades and why did they remain silent spectator of all evil activities. After all , top leaders of workman employees and that of officers union are also one of members of board of directors of each Bank. I agree merger of banks is not the solution and I agree that privatization of bank is also not the solution to bank's problem. But I feel that even maintaining current status of government bank is also not the medicine to cure current health of public sector banks. Mergar of Banks can only increase size of bank's volume of business but cannot change the heart and mind of bank staff and that of politicians who used banks to serve their self interests at the cost of common men.

Banks were nationalised in the year 1969 only to stop exploitation of poor people by promoters of private banks. And now the same government is inclined to handover government bank to private sector to stop exploitation of bank by the government and by government tagged bank staff. Wine remains the same but bottle changes from time to time. Culture of flattery by bank staff as well as by trade union leaders to bosses of banks to serve their self interest is root cause of sickness of banks.It is leaders of trade unions like AIBEA, BEFI, AIBOC who have contributed a lot in loot of banks and in spoiling work culture. It is they who gave protection to dishonest staff at the cost of good staff. It is they who used power of unity and militancy of bank staff to blackmail management of each Bank and to serve their selfish motto only. These leaders could not even protect interest of their member staff because they slowly became flatterers of top officials of banks . These leaders jointly and severally looted banks in their own style and protected each other whenever their evil works got exposed.

Until there is change in attitude of bank staff and that of politicians we cannot dream of improvement of health of Banks, neither by keeping them as fully government bank nor by partial privatization of them. We will have to stop malpractices from top to bottom in banks as well as in politics. Banks top bosses get success in their loot only by taking support of trade union leaders.

All top officials of every bank first try to please trade union leaders. They shut the mouth of these leaders by obliging them in various ways. When they get success in bringing leaders in their good book, top bank officers start acting arbitrarily and in looting it. As such trade union leaders are as responsible and accountable as top bosses and politicians are responsible and accountable for ill health of banks.

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If each staff , each officer and each trade union leaders become conscious of their duties towards their organization along with their rights , no power on earth can make banks sick. They could have built pressure on politicians to make legal set up stronger to recover dues from Bank loan defaulters. They could have stopped corrupt bank officers in selling promotion to flatterers. They could have stopped campus recruitment and arbitrarily allowing bank management to pay higher salary to freshers. And so on..... Bank officers who are considered non performers by management of public sector government banks become star performers when they leave public banks and join private banks for making their career bright. Staff associated with government banks are as such not bad. But the corruption at higher level make and convert even good performer to become a bad performer or leave bank for other better job. Officers in public bank who do not act in support of top bosses and who are not flatterer to top bosses are forced to leave banks .

Trade union leaders should try to understand and make it clear to common men why after all bank officers become slave to higher bosses in public banks. They should tell the people why bank officers are more loyal to their bosses and not to their organisation.

Trade Union leaders associated with AIBEA or AIBOC should introspect and say why bank's health deteriorated year after year even though they had one member in boards of each bank to protect the interst of their staff members as also to the bank they represented. Burden of Non Performing Assets in Banks is not cration of one or two years but it has been concealed for years and decades by clever corrupt officials to hide their evil works.

Bank staff are now put in the category of corrupt officials or non-performing officrs . Who are responsible for such pathetic condition of public sector banks only?

Trade Union Leaders should say why profitability of public banks is on increase whereas that of private banks is either getting reduced or in control. Trade Union Leaders should say why government is constrained to hand over the management of public banks to private sector bankers?

Banks were nationalised in the yar 1969 with a purpose to give relief to poor villagers, poor farmers and poor traders who were exploited blocal moneylenders . Banks were nationalised to give relief to bank employees who were exploited by promoters of private banks and who wer forced to sit late hours and paid less salary compensation. Trade Union Leaders should say why instead of protecting bank staff in particular and bank as a whole , they became yesman of top officials of management in allowing corruption in recruitment, promotion, lending, buying of goods and services for banks and in all types of works related to furnishing, renovation and taking over of premises for branches opened. They should say why honest and good performing officers were transfered to critical places frequently and dishonest officers were given cream posting . Misuse of power of transfering an officer or power of promoting and rejecting an officer in promotion processes used to take place by top officials always taking indirect support and concurrence of trade union leaders.

It is due to large scale corruption and rampant yesmanism at all levels that good officers and good clerks discarded promotion processes and thought it better to avoid taking higher responsibility on their shoulder. Bank management got freedom to give promotion and to transfer an officer strictly as per their whims and caprices. Trade Union Leaders used to give indirect support to heinous this act of top managment . Now when health of banks has gone sick, these leaders shed Crocodile Tears and ask government not to privatise banks. At least they do not have moral to put such demand. However ,I am also of strong view that Privatisation of banks which are now under public sector will be a disaterous act and there is no doubt to me that these private banks will prove to be more disasterous tha present public banks are.

We should remember that in the year 1969 , the then government had to nationalise private banks only due to evil culture in private banks and with a purpose of accelerating social welfare works from governmnt banks. There is still need of social welfare work and government of India cannot ignore this pious work of social and financial inclusion. It is the duty of elected government to give all possible financial support to weaker section of the society as per directive principles of Constitution. And it is bitter truth that even aftr seven decades of freedom, governments of the past failed to improve financial condition of poor . Bitter truth is that even Today, more than 80 percent of population find if difficut to afford even adequate healthy food for their family.

Disclaimer: [The articles written by author contains only the academic view of the writer and purely for discussions and updation of the knowledge of the bankers. The views expressed in the articles may not at all be subscribed by the organisation where the author is working and / or]

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