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IBA to Department of Financial Services: ‘Ongoing Covid wave claims lives of 1,300 bank staff’

According to bankers, the number of deaths among the bank staff is very high when compared to the national average. The number of bank staff who got infected with Covid is also very high as they are yet to get vaccinated.

Written by George Mathew
Mumbai | Updated: May 21, 2021 3:24:35 am
At a Covid care centre in Mumbai. (File)

As many as 1,300 bank employees have died due to the ongoing Covid wave, much higher than the overall national average.

According to a recent communication from the Indian Banks’ Association (IBA) to the Department of Financial Services (DFS), Ministry of Finance, 600 bank employees — 0.04 per cent — of the total bank staff numbering 13.50 lakh died due to Covid, while the ratio for the whole country was 0.01 per cent — 1,53,000 deaths —of the total population of 130 crore. However, as of now, 1,300 bank employees have already died due to Covid as the second wave intensified in March and April. This is 0.10 per cent (1,300 deaths) of the total bank staff while for the entire country, the ratio of death is 0.02 per cent (2,87,000 deaths).

According to bankers, the number of deaths among the bank staff is very high when compared to the national average. The number of bank staff who got infected with Covid is also very high as they are yet to get vaccinated.

“We observe that while the number of people infected in the second wave is increasing in the country as a whole, its toll on the banking sector is much higher, especially in the number of deaths. This is creating a lot of scare and panic among the bank employees,” said CH Venkatachalam, general secretary, AIBEA.

Despite various guidelines and precautionary steps, the number of bank employees who get infected is quite high as bank branches are hotspots of all types of people, bankers said. “Not only regular customers, but others also throng bank branches for various services. The result was that a number of bank employees lost their precious lives due to the Covid-19 infection,” said a banker.

“Our cry to treat bank employees under priority for vaccination was not taken seriously by the government and now only some ‘requests’ are being sent to the state governments. Even now, there is no directive to this effect from the Central government,” Venkatachalam said.

With bank branches and employees across the country facing the wrath of local authorities who are eagerly enforcing the Covid-19 lockdown, the Finance Ministry recently asked the state governments to ensure the safety of the bank employees and enable them to commute to their branches for the smooth functioning of the financial system.

Banks have been complaining that local government authorities have been forcibly shutting down branches, manhandling and preventing the employees from reaching their offices in many states.

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