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More than 40 days since Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced demonetisation, members of All-India Bank Officers’ Confederation (AIBOC) Wednesday protested against the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) for frequent change of rules, which are leading to “confusion”, and alleged discrimination against PSU banks by assigning them less cash.
Protesting employees criticised the RBI’s regulation issued Tuesday, assigning bank officials the “investigative” task of questioning customers and checking deposits more than Rs 5,000. AIBOC members demonstrated at various RBI offices, including Mint Road headquarters in Mumbai and RBI head offices in Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru and Jaipur, PTI reported.
In Delhi, the protesters tried to march from RBI’s regional office on Parliament Street to Jantar Mantar, but were taken to Parliament Street police station as part of symbolic detention.
AIBOC general secretary Harvinder Singh said they were protesting the RBI’s policies, which are proving to be against PSU banks and the public at large.
He asked, “Why are HDFC, Axis and ICICI banks getting all the cash and we are struggling to get a few lakhs? We are caught in a tough situation when RBI changes circulars — people know it from the media and confront us, whereas it sometimes takes three days for a circular to reach banks.”
Sunil Bansal, AIBOC state secretary and a United Bank of India staffer, said, “When we were asked to do the task of the CBI, IB and ED to check proof of deposits, it was the last straw. We are just bankers (not investigators).”
The RBI Wednesday modified the guidelines and said KYC-compliant account holders can deposit more than Rs 5,000 in demonetised notes without being questioned by bank officials.
In Gurgaon, where RBI does not have a local branch, officials from PSU banks staged a demonstration outside Lead District Manager (LDM) R C Nayak’s office in Sector 31, demanding, among others, “smoother supply of cash”. “Right now, we are getting cash once in four days — that too largely in Rs 2,000 notes. We want smoother supply of cash, including notes in smaller denominations,” said Satish Kumar Vats, AIBOC executive committee member.
The protest took place during lunch, as the bank staff said they did not want to “inconvenience customers”.
R C Nayak, the LDM, admitted that the cash received in Gurgaon was insufficient. “Banks in the district received only Rs 36 crore on Monday, and Rs 33 crore on Tuesday, against their daily requirement of Rs 2,000 crore,” he said.