I am writing in response to the article `On the Real Aim of Merging and Privatising Banks’ dated 24/7/2020 and published in the online edition of MEL. The issue of banking is a very important one and is also one on which there is considerable confusion in the public mind.
Recently, the government passed two ordinances related to agriculture. “Agricultural Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Ordinance-2020” and “Farmer (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Assurance of Value and Agricultural Services Ordinance-2020 “. The Prime Minister and the Minister of Agriculture have called these two ordinances, as the means to open the way for “freedom of farmers”. Mazdoor Ekta Lehar (MEL) talked about these ordinances with many peasant leaders across the country. The key points made by Shri Vikal Pachar, National President of All India Swaminathan Sangharsh Samiti, during an interview with Mazdoor Ekta Lehar, are presented in the following paragraphs.
When the process of bank mergers began three years ago, the Central Government claimed that it was aimed at addressing the problem of “non-performing assets” or bad loans accumulated by many state-owned banks. However, the problem of bad loans has only grown from bad to worse since then.
Result of medical education and health care being profit oriented
Lack of adequate number of trained doctors and nurses is proving to be one of the biggest handicaps in treating increasing number of Covid affected patients in the country. This is the result of failing to create the required number of medical colleges and nursing schools to train sufficient numbers of doctors and nurses required for a country of our size. The policy of privatisation of medical education that has been followed by successive governments over the last three decades has worsened the situation.
Public sector banks are run in the service of private capitalist corporations
At a conference of senior bank executives, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor on 11 July 2020 told that the economic impact of the pandemic “may result in higher non-performing assets (NPAs) and capital erosion of banks. A recapitalization plan for public sector banks (PSBs) and private banks has, therefore become necessary.”
We are witnessing a significant rise in the degree of concentration of banking capital in our country today, following the mergers that have been implemented recently. In this context, it is useful to recall Lenin’s teaching on the role of banks in the imperialist stage of capitalism.