Srinagar: Former finance minister and senior National Conference leader Abdul Rahim Rather, in a statement has said that the recent State Administrative Council (SAC) decision on J&K Bank will facilitate “undue interference in the bank’s working which will prove disastrous for the premier institution as evidenced by the other PSUs of the State.”
Rather, while expressing shock, said that an efficient, viable and profitable institution like the J&K Bank, has been reduced to a public sector undertaking.
“I fail to analyse the purpose and reason underlying such a decision,” Rather said.
Right from its inception since 1938, he said, the bank has been a strong partner in the economic and social development of the State.
“Besides, its role in employment generation, direct as well as indirect, has been quite commendable. The bank has been rendering services par excellence. This fact has been reckoned and recognised by one and all in the banking industry till date. Every government and political dispensation in the State has been whole-heartedly supporting the bank, its businesses model and the management for improved efficiency. The outcome of such policies has been translated on the ground for everybody to see,” Rather added.
Commenting further on the bank’s performance. Rather said the comprehensive and competitive performance of the bank viz-a-viz other commercial banks and financial institutions would indicate the overall role and scope of J&K Bank in the state economy.
“A reference to SLBC data for last four to five decades corroborates and reveals the same. It may be seen that J&K Bank has contributed 65% to overall credit growth as against 35% put in by other 50 banks and financial institutions operative in the State. J&K Bank has undoubtedly been a commercial resort for all sections of the population in the State. It has notably done exemplary hand holding of the poor artisans and farmers. Moreover, it has spread the network of its branches in other parts of the country and its performance there also has been appreciated by all the concerned,” Rather pointed out.
But unfortunately, the former finance minister said, while deciding to reduce its stature to that of a PSU, all these services and the high role of the bank have been ignored.
“Against the above facts, I would urge upon the Honourable State Governor to appreciate all these facts and revoke the decision in order to ensure that the J&K Bank continues to function for the betterment of the state smoothly,” Rather added.
Earlier in the day National Conference workers led by their General Secretary Ali Mohammad Sagar, took out a protest rally against the ‘ongoing killing spree in Kashmir’ and the decision to turn JK Bank into a PSU.
“First they attacked our financial autonomy through GST regime and now by turning J&K bank into a PSU. The people of Kashmir won’t tolerate any such attack on our autonomy,” Sagar said.