The country’s banking sector and the money market were hit on Thursday with over 17,000 employees under the auspices of the United Forum of Reserve Bank Officers and Employees going on a day’s ‘mass leave’ seeking higher pension and in protest against various reforms being initiated in the Reserve Bank of India.
While the unions claimed the one-day stir was a success, the RBI said payments through the Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS) and National Electronic Funds Transfer (NEFT) systems were largely restored during the course of the day. “The management engaged with representatives of the United Forum and persuaded them in largely restoring normalcy, including in the operations relating to RTGS and NEFT systems,” the RBI said.
“Majority of the employees of the Reserve Bank were on mass casual leave on Thursday responding to a call given by the United Forum of Reserve Bank Officers and Employees. This led to thin attendance across various offices of the Reserve Bank. Resultantly, there were some interruptions to clearing and settlement operations of the Reserve Bank during opening hours of the day,” the RBI said in a statement.
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The volume in the bond market was thin. The daily average trading in the Gilt market is in the range of Rs 15,000-20,000 crore, which came down to under Rs 9,000 crore on Thursday. The foreign exchange market functioned and the rupee recovered by 12 paise to close at 66.18 per dollar.
The unions are opposing the Centre’s move to take away public debt management from RBI and curtail its powers on the monetary policy under the reforms being unveiled. The unions also demanded upgrading of pension of RBI employees, who retired earlier and want them to be at par with those retiring now.
Meanwhile, the RBI on Thursday directed banks that they should lend at least 11.57 per cent of their funds directly to non-corporate farmers in FY16. RBI set the target for direct lending by banks to agriculture under priority sector at 11.57 per cent, which is based on the system-wide average of the last three years’ achievement with regard to overall direct lending to non-corporate farmers.