Srinagar: Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry has opposed the decision of the State Administrative Council (SAC) to bring the J&K Bank Ltd under the purview of RTI, CVC and the legislature.
Explaining the reasons, the apex business body said the J&K Bank cannot be treated as any other Public Sector Undertaking as it is a public listed company and is also governed under banking laws.
“The decision is being seen as unwarranted interference in the functioning of the Bank. It is because of the autonomy, Bank enjoyed since it’s inception, that it has attained present level and become an important component in the existing economic structure of the state,” it said in a statement.
Reportedly more than 50,000 shareholders have stakes in the Bank, and the government is only one of the shareholders with only 59.3 % shareholding.
“In the strict sense, it is not a department of the government nor is owned by the government. It is not even substantially financed by the government,” it added and added, “Instead, the government receives heavy dividends from the Bank”.
The people of the state have a “vested interest” in the functioning of the Bank as more than 90% of their members are connected with the Bank.
“Our state has seen so many Governor’s in last seventy years. The State has been brought under Governors rule eleven times,” a spokeperson said.
“Not a single Governor tinkered with the functioning of the Bank. It is for the first time that Bank had to engage additionally 582 banking associates when they were not needed as per the requirements. Reportedly, not a single case was filed against the Bank questioning recruitments made by it,” it added.
Engagement of our unemployed youth cannot be resolved by providing them services in the Bank, it said.
“Reportedly, architects, graduates, post graduates and other professionals have been engaged for rendering banking services, when their services could have been better utilized in the concerned departments of the government. It appears that failure of the government to provide employment to our educated unemployed youth is sought to be shifted to a semi-private Bank,” it said.
According the chamber, the bank has done well because of the credibility and support it enjoys in the people as an institution. “The decision was taken to bring down this institution to a level of PSU of the government. Is the intention to cause failure of the bank at the cost of our people who depend for their livelihood on the assistance rendered by the Bank?”
The CEO of the bank is reduced to a Managing Director of the company, it said.
“So far as the position of non-performing assets (NPA’s) is concerned there is evidence to show that the people in the state repay loans they borrow from the bank.
“It is only few persons holding political power who can be counted, amongst others, major defaulters. It will be difficult for the Bank to proceed against such defaulters because they are the one who have a say in the government,” it added.