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House panel calls bankers ‘Covid warriors’, hails sector’s efforts

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House panel calls bankers ‘Covid warriors’, hails sector’s efforts

The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs on Management of Covid Pandemic has lauded the efforts of the banking sector throughout the Covid interval and referred to as bankers as “Covid-19 warriors”.
“The committee notes and appreciates the efforts and pain taken by the banking sector for providing uninterrupted and seamless banking facilities during the Covid-19 outbreak and the consequent lockdown,” the committee mentioned in its 229th report. In their honest effort to supply steady service, most of the financial institution officers additionally misplaced their precious life, it noticed.
“The committee therefore places on record the good work done by the banking sector right from the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic and observes that they are also recognised as Covid-19 warriors,” the committee mentioned. The banking sector has functioned usually after the preliminary hiccups within the early days of the pandemic.
In a letter to the Chairman of State Bank of India, CEOs of nationalised banks and the Indian Banks’ Association, the Ministry of Finance mentioned, “Indian Banks Association may suitably apprise its member banks regarding these observations and public sector banks may suitably apprise their respective boards and staff.”
During the preliminary days of Covid outbreak in April 2020, many financial institution branches remained closed as a consequence of lockdown and lack of logistical and transport amenities. However, most financial institution branches reopened inside weeks with emergency banking providers. “Banking services are almost fully operational across the country. However, some branches are shut occasionally when employees are afflicted with Covid. Such branches are reopened at the earliest after taking precautions,” mentioned the senior official of a nationalised financial institution.

However, financial institution employees mentioned they weren’t given sufficient help when the Covid pandemic was at its peak within the second and third quarter of 2020-21. “In Mumbai, bank staff were not allowed to board the suburban trains when services started in a limited way. Government employees were given priority treatment. It was a struggle to reach branches from our residences. Bank staff should have been brought under the insurance cover launched by the government for health workers. We had to fend for ourselves during the lockdown days,” mentioned a financial institution worker.

In the primary half of this fiscal, the Covid-19 pandemic compelled each debtors and lenders to tread cautiously, resulting in contraction in financial institution credit score. But a faster-than-expected uptick in financial exercise since leisure of lockdowns, and pent-up and festive season demand, helped thereafter. “While bank credit growth had contracted 0.8 per cent in the first half of this fiscal, it recovered sharply in the third quarter by growing 3 per cent sequentially. In the fourth quarter, too, it should clock 3 per cent sequential growth. Government measures, including the Rs 3 lakh crore Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme (ECLGS), have been supportive,” mentioned a Crisil report.
Further, the digital cost system expanded at a quicker tempo as the federal government and the RBI got here out with incentives to keep away from the necessity for bodily visits to financial institution branches and produce down money transactions.