Public-sector bank employees went on a two-day strike from Wednesday following a disagreement over the quantum of scheduled pay hike with effect from November 2017. The United Forum of Bank Unions has been discussing the wage bill hike issue with the Indian Banks’ Association. In the last meeting earlier this month, IBA proposed that the wage bill be increased by 2% for the next five years. This means that from November 2017 to October 2022, pay scales would go up by 2 per cent over the wage bill of March 2017. The bank unions, however, say this is significantly lower than the 15% increase in the total wage bill that the IBA had agreed to during the 10th bipartite wage settlement for the period November 2012-October 2017.
While the IBA has stressed that banks have not made much profit, the unions disagree. All India Bank Employees’ Association general secretary C H Venkatachalam said, “In 2011-12 when the last settlement happened, the aggregate operating profit of all banks was Rs 87,691 crore, and in 2016-17 the operating profit has risen to Rs 1,58,982 crore. So the banks have made an operating profit. If the net profit of the banks have come down on account of provisions for NPAs, that has nothing to do with the employees.” —Sandeep Singh
Tip for Reading List: The Best Of Booker’s 51
Five ‘decade judges’ appointed by The Booker Prize Foundation announced over the weekend a shortlist of the ‘Golden Five’ winners of the Prize since it was instituted in 1969, which will now be voted on by the public to choose the Golden Man Booker, the best work of Booker-winning fiction from the last five decades. The Booker Prize has been awarded annually for the best novel in English by a citizen of the Commonwealth of Nations or Ireland until 2014, when it was opened to any work published in the UK in English. The winner of the Golden Man Booker, being awarded to mark the 50th anniversary of the Prize, will be announced on July 8.
The five decade judges — writer-editor Robert McCrum, poet Lemn Sissay, novelist Kamila Shamsie, broadcaster and novelist Simon Mayo, and poet Hollie McNish — read the winning novels from the 70s (12 novels), 80s (10), 90s (11), 2000s (10) and 2010s (8) respectively, to pick the best of each decade that make up the Golden Five. Here they are — and you have until June 25 to read or re-read them all. Vote on http://themanbookerprize.com/vote.
This Word Means: Gilgit-Baltistan
Pak asserts itself, India protests. What is this region?
Pakistan recently passed the Gilgit-Baltistan Order, which effectively grants the citizens of the Gilgit-Baltistan region all the rights that are enjoyed by Pakistani citizens of the other provinces.
The region is part of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, and Pakistan’s move to integrate it as its fifth province has met with a strong protest by India. Gilgit-Baltistan covers a 72,971 sq km area, and has a predominantly Muslim population.
Pakistan first sought to bring Gilgit-Baltistan under its administration through the Karachi Agreement in 1949. In 2009, the Gilgit-Baltistan Empowerment and Self-Governance Order of 2009 granted self-rule to the people of the region, giving the territory a semi-provincial status.
That order did not, however, make the region a constitutional part of Pakistan. —Promit Chakroborty