In recent weeks, Prime Minister Modi and his government have been making allegations that bank employees are siphoning off crores of rupees to some favoured customers and taking a cut. The truth is that the Modi’s government has failed to provide the banking system with enough new notes. His government is responsible for people standing for hours in long queues and still not being able to withdraw their own money from the bank because of cash shortage. The Prime Minister is making sweeping allegations against bank employees in order to redirect the anger of the public against his government to the bank employees.
Every other day, the media has been reporting that crores of rupees in new and old notes have been found stashed away in someone’s basement or someone’s home or in a godown, etc. Raids are conducted across the country and lakhs, even crores of rupees are being “found” from Chandigarh to Hyderabad to Thane to Bengaluru. The Prime Minister has time and again, in this period, pointed fingers at bank employees. Bank employees across the board are being made the culprits for new notes of Rs.2000 being found in large bundles amounting to crores. It is alleged that RBI is sending money to the banks, but it is the banks that are denying that they have enough to pay their clients seeking to withdraw from their own accounts.
On 10th December, addressing a largely peasant gathering at an Amul outlet in Gujarat that he was inaugurating, the PM claimed, “Demonetisation is a crucial step to get rid of corruption in the country. Nowadays, the government is really behind corruption, bankers are going to jail; those who are running away with huge bundles of notes are going to jail. They thought, ‘okay, Modi has banned Rs.1000 and Rs.500 notes, we will do something through back door,’ but they did not know that Modi had placed a camera at the rear door. All these people are going to get caught; none of them will escape…”
A review of the flow of money into banks clearly reveals that fixing general blame on bank employees is not based on facts. Post November 8, even the biggest bank in the private sector, like HDFC, has received only Rs.20-24 crores on any day in a city like Delhi, whereas its normal demand is up to Rs.150 crores; while on many days, it has received no money. And HDFC has numerous branches and ATMs and no single branch has received more than Rs.25-30 lakhs on a single day, while the demand on the branch is at least 10 times this. So how would banks have the money for employees to collude in leaks of crores of rupees?
Secondly, RBI sends money in bulk to the currency chests of various banks in different towns. The currency chest is in the full knowledge and under the authority of the RBI. The banks distribute the funds from the currency chest to their various branches and ATM machines as well as to branches of other banks that are to be served from that currency chest. Each branch has to note down how much money has been received from the HO and keep account of the money withdrawn. Any discrepancy has to be made good by the cashier or manager of the bank.
Finally, it is the banks which give information to the Financial Intelligence Unit of the RBI with respect to any suspicious accumulation or deposit of funds in any account. The moment any transaction is more than Rs.10 lakh, the bank reports this to the FIU; likewise, in the case of the Jan Dhan accounts where KYC compliance is not required, any transaction greater than Rs.50,000 is reported.
The Prime Minister’s constant refrain has been that he and his government stand for honest (imandar) government and are bent on catching “red-handed all those wealthy corrupt individuals who are taking away the people’s hard-earned money.” Such claims are hollow and contrary to facts.
In fact, the banks are being looted, which the bank workers’ unions have been continuously bringing to public notice, which the government is trying to cover up. The biggest monopolies which control the state also exercise enormous influence over the banks. They sit on the boards of the Public Sector Banks, and have taken huge amount of monies from these banks which they are refusing to return. These unreturned loans are estimated to be over Rs.8 lakh crores. Bank employees have been demanding publication of the names of the defaulters and action to recover the monies. The government has refused to do so. This shows that the government has no intention of preventing the loot of the country’s wealth by the biggest corporates.
Mr. Modi is attempting to redirect people’s anger with the government to the bank employees. It is gross injustice to blame bank employees for the enormous sufferings of the people. Since the announcement of the demonetization on 8th November, bank employees have been working tirelessly for14-16 hours or even more every day, trying to serve more than 10 times the number of clients that come to the bank in normal times. They have been working under extremely trying conditions. The Communist Ghadar Party stands firmly in defence of the bank workers of our country who have worked under extremely trying conditions to ease the sufferings of the people.