Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Nov 14:
Officers and workmen of the RBI will go on a day’s mass casual leave on November 19 to protest the Centre’s moves aimed at “crippling the apex bank in the name of the draft financial code and legislative reforms”.
The United Forum of Reserve Bank Officers and employees, the unberlla organization of four recognized unions of officers and workmen staff in RBI, covering the entire workforce in the country’s central bank, numbering around 17, 000 are poised for a day’s Mass Leave on November 19 paralyzing RBl functions all over the country, secretary AIRBIOA, SM Mishra said.
“Through the proposed mechanism of Monetary Policy Committee (MPC), the government plans to itervene and themselves decide the monetary policy which has been the exclusive jurisdiction of RBI so far. For quite some time past Governments have been trying to coerce RBI to surrender to their pressure tactics of lowering bank rates somehow in narrow short-term interest, which the RBI refused to adhere. Hence, the Government is keen to virtually take over the function under the pretext of Legislative Reforms Commission headed by Justice Sri Krishna set up by the Government of India,” he said.
The cease-work programme in intended, inter alia, to strongly oppose Government of India’s current moves to cripple RBI in the name of the draft financial code and legislative reforms, the United Forum said in a release.
“The Finance Ministry is reportedly giving final shape to shift Government’s debt management functions from RBI to the proposed Public Debt Management Agency (PDMA), which will also henceforth function as depository of Government securities (G-sec), thus taking away from RBI some vital operations having relevance to money market as well. Even though, RBI have been performing these operations since inception with commendable alacrity, the Government is rigid in slivering these from the ambit of Reserve Bank, without national consensus on such a move with many ramifications for the national economy and finances of State Governments particularly. Many economists, Parliamentarians, former RBI Governors have sounded caution, but to no avail,” it adde.
RBI staff have long been pursuing for improvement in pension, as their basic pension once fixed does not increase which puts thousands of RBI pensioners in extreme penury in these days of soaring prices, increased medical costs etc. Even though RBI pension is analogous to Central Government pension scheme unlike Central Government pensioners, the RBI pensioners are not entitled to periodic updaton of pension However updation of pension was granted to pre -2002 RBI retirees by RBI Central Board, but government withdrew it unilaterally. For the last eight years, the United Forum has been pursuing the issue. RBI Central Board repeatedly requested Government to permit the same. RBI Governors had numerous interactions with successive finance Ministers and their officials, but Government bureaucracy is rigid. A few hundred RBI staff and retirees, who did not opt for pension earlier, have been denied another option just of vindictiveness.
Having failed to improve pension despite peaceful pursuance for last 8 years, RBI staff and retirees have reached limit of patience and are compelled to mobilize to fight, the union said.