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No bank role in pilferage of new currency notes: AIBEA

While the seizure of new currency notes in bulk from certain banks in a series of raids conducted post demonetisation had raised many eyebrows, the All India Bank Employees Association (AIBEA) today pointed a finger towards the Reserve Bank of India, claiming that the pilferage might have taken place either from its currency note press or the currency chests. Addressing media persons here, Devidas Tuljapurkar, newly elected national general secretary of AIBEA, said it was wrong to suspect role of banks in such pilferages.

''The currency flow of each denomination towards every bank is recorded at every step and therefore chances of pilferage at the level of banks are next to impossible. It is therefore wrong to put bank officials and employees under suspicion for seizure of new currency notes,'' he said. Mr Tuljapurkar further said RBI Governor Urjit Patel could only throw more light on the issue when he will appear before the Parliamentary Committee in next few days.

''The seizure of new currency notes in bulk from certain banks immediately after demonetization move is one of the pressing issues upon which Mr Patel would be explaining his stand before parliamentary panel and we hope that truth would be out soon,'' he said. Criticising the demonetization move, AIBEA, which enjoys membership of four lakh, said that it would bring down the operative profit of banks in the country, as entire economy of the country was allegedly getting paralysed. ''Post demonetisation, customers' deposits in banks have increased and banks are liable to pay interest on it. On the other hand, the reverse currency flow towards consumers has become almost standstill. The tertiary sector, service sector and manufacturing sector have collapsed post demonetisation,'' Mr Tuljapurkar claimed.

The AIBEA has also cautioned that any drop in growth rate would result into increase in the banks non-performing assets (NPA) drastically. ''If the growth rate drops by say one per cent, it would result into NPAs worth Rs one lakh crore for banks,'' it said. Opposition to merger of five subsidiary banks of SBI -- State Bank of Hyderabad, State Bank of Mysore, State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur, State Bank of Patiala and State Bank of Travancore -- as one entity and salary revision of bank employees are some of the key demands AIBEA will be following withpolicy-makers in near future, Mr Tuljapurkar added.

Speaking on the occasion, Jagdish Bhavthankar, vice-president of State Bank of Hyderabad Employees Federation, said that bank employees were contemplating a one-day national-level strike shortly, if the alleged difficult situation post demonetization was not eased out. ''Earlier there was currency crunch post demonetisation, now banks have been struggling to deal with different adverse cascading effects of the move. Needless to say, bank employees have been undergoing high-stress level due to all this. To protest what is happening around, the employees are planning to strike work,'' he added.

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