After the recent surfacing of numerous assault instances on bankers in the country, the Ministry of Finance has instructed states to step up security measures for banks’ workers and take stern action against the unruly.
Although pointing out that banking operations are critical to the economy, the Financial Services Department wrote in a letter to the Chief Secretary of State that, given the growing prevalence of unruly moves of anti-social factors towards bankers, the authorities wish to take stern action, reassess said, PTI.
In these times, in particular, some of the most disadvantaged parts of society need banks to promote government benefits such as DBT transfers.
Attacks on Bankers recently
Is Section 353 applicable to Police ?— M U N S H I (@munshi1857) June 23, 2020
A @CP_SuratCity police officer ( apparently Subhash Bhai Paragbhai ) assaulted a women Public servant on duty. #ShameSuratPolice@collectorsurat @dgpgujarat @GujaratPolice @CommissionerSMC must take action regarding this. pic.twitter.com/xJtbo5Buh3
Recently, there have been several cases of assaults on bank employees. Concerns have especially risen after a woman bank employee at Canara Bank, which was previously identified as Syndicate Bank, was assaulted by a police constable at the Saroli branch of the bank in Surat, Gujarat, last month. The attack rendered her with a fracture. The constable in question was suspended but the Bank Union has been demanding the termination of his job as an example for the society.
My office spoke to the Commissioner of Police, Shri. Bhrambhatt (IPS). He has assured us that he himself will visit the branch & assure the staff of their safety. Also he assured that the accused constable shall be suspended immediately. @CP_SuratCity @PIB_India @canarabank— Nirmala Sitharaman (@nsitharaman) June 24, 2020
This isn’t the first time an attack on the banking staff has taken place. There have also been many attacks since the Surat attack, one such attack took place in Maharashtra.
Earlier this month a woman witnessed abusing the bank staff when she was asked to wear a mask.
Bank staff are being pulled, harassed in Prathma UP Gramin Bank, Balrampur UP. Police have been charging FIR, but there have been no acts so far.
Even though DFS has already written letters to Bank’s chiefs for bank branch staff protection.
#BankersProtectionAct— Abhishek (@Abhishe56015406) July 24, 2020
Bank staff being pushed, abused in Prathma UP Gramin Bank , Balrampur UP. Police have loaded FIR, but no action taken till now.
Even when DFS have already written letters to Bank's chiefs for protection of Bank Branch staffs.
In May, a customer had asked an employee to remove their mask when informed that passbook printing wasn’t allowed. A video was also shared on social media with a customer becoming violent against a bank employee in April.
And there have been many such cases reported and ignored.
👉 One can always fight against the evils outside, but enemies within the system are the biggest threat.— महाप्रबंधक (@mahaprabandhak) July 24, 2020
👉 Bankers are abetted for suicide by management on the pretext of performance.
👉 #BankersProtectionAct must ensure safety for Bankers from inhuman Bank Management as well. pic.twitter.com/yWP95Q4w66
Letter by the Finance Ministry
- The banking premises must be guarded and banking operations must be at the public’s disposal at all times so that households can meet their expenses and benefits for access. In the current context of the corona virus pandemic, the provision of vital services like banking is all the more important, the letter said.
- Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that despite these trying times, banks are extending their services to everyone and hence their safety should be a big priority. She had also ensured that the health of all bank workers is of paramount importance.
- It is important to ensure the availability of banking services to the public at all times for households to meet their expenses and access benefits through DBT, and for merchants, farmers, etc. to carry on economic activities. In the present context of the Covid-19 pandemic, the provision of critical services like banking is all the more important was stressed in the letter.
- The letter requested that district magistrates and state police be properly sensitized and ordered to take all required steps to avoid prompt and efficient response and dissuasive action. Clear disclosure of the state’s commitment and behavior to deal firmly with miscreants will also help to dissuade and instill confidence in the clear and banking communities.
The demands made for banking staff
- There should also be a full lockdown in the bank workplace as the workers are being pressurized for the COVID relief scheme resulting in customers taking unfair advantage of it. The job should be limited to deposit, transfers only.
- There should also only be five working days for the bank because it would reduce the bankers who are at high risk for contracting the corona virus disease because of their exposure to people. The working conditions in the office are also strenuous for the workers which affects their health. Shifting to an online mode could be really helpful in this situation.
- Due to the pandemic, there has also been a shortage of staff and with a lot of people’s livelihood being affected by the pandemic, there is a huge requirement for more staff otherwise it can be really stressful on the workers.
- If a GM / ZM / CM / BM have to incorporate in the articles would it change the attitude of the individuals in power to implement the guidelines? Also now that several banks are setting deadlines for third party goods in this pandemic scenario, holding all kinds of login days, it makes the situation worse.
In spite of all the demands the bankers were cheated.
❌No 5 Days Banking#YouFailedBankers— Newton Bank Kumar (@idesibanda) July 22, 2020
❌You accepted PLI#YouFailedBankers
❌No Child Care leave #YouFailedBankers
❌Load Factor only 2.5%#YouFailedBankers
❌No Old Pension Scheme#YouFailedBankers pic.twitter.com/EvhnkYRhpW
The reasons why the Bankers Protection Act is a must for bankers to be safeguarded
- There is currently no clear legislation allowing police to take action against unruly Branch customers
- 5-6 IPC Section is there to protect the Public Servant (Any) but as doctors are given, bankers need dedicated legislation. During the entire pandemic, bank staff has been equally dedicated as the doctors in making all the economic needs of the common masses to be met.
Although the letter released by the Finance Ministry is commendable there is an urgent need for laying down strict rules and guidelines to be followed in order to ensure the safety of Bankers. Despite the corona virus pandemic, the bank sector is dedicated to helping out the masses and in exchange for that, the least that the authorities can do is make a Banker Protection Act so that situations like the recent attacks can be avoided in the future.