The Yes Bank Collapse Has Exposed The Ugly Face Of Indian Banking, Again

No cash in ATMs, nearly forty people waiting for their turn to get some cash in the line and the lady cashier, wearing a mask, unable to satisfy the customers; another employee trying to pacify an enraged depositor by saying that everything will be normal in a day or so. This was the scene in a local Yes Bank branch in Panchkula, a Haryana town in the periphery of tricity Chandigarh, on March 6, 2020, at nearly 3:40 PM.

The queue of people were the depositors at Yes Bank, which has gone deeper in the ditch due to wrong policies adopted by the bank and failure of the central government, causing the watchdog RBI to smell the mephitis of the system well in time.

An officer, sitting on the side seat and having no nameplate, seems frightened but says, “Sir, it’s true that ATMs and net banking are not functional at present, but we are paying everyone up to the marked limit of ₹50,000 in cash. We are having no dearth of cash, but due to Central Government and RBI guidelines, we are bound to maintain this limit till April 3.  SBI is ready to buy the stakes of our bank and everything will be OK very soon.”

When asked why the position of Yes Bank has deteriorated, the officer said, “Sir, banks also do business and every business has the risk. Some loan portfolios financed by us went bad and the result has given us the jolt. Sir, our finance minister has also assured  to watch the interest of the depositors.”

After the incident of the Punjab & Maharashtra Cooperative (PMC) Bank failure, once again, one more public money collectors, Yes Bank, in this case, has shown the ugly face of the Indian banking system. It has shattered the belief of lakhs of people who deposit their hard-earned money in the banks to keep it safe and secure.

But, it has also unmasked how bank regulators including RBI and NABARD, management, internal auditors and statutory auditors are not serious and keep their vigilant eyes closed.

The above-mentioned auditing and checking authorities which are responsible for curbing problems in banking, should be kicked off with a hard hit. If they can’t even notice or smell the internal health of banks during their off-site and on-site inspection and audit period, then what kind of surveillance are they keeping?

What Does The Finance Minister Say?

Assuring the depositors as well as employees of Yes Bank, Finance Minister Sitharaman at a press conference said“Employment, the salary of employees of Yes Bank assured for one year; deposits, liabilities will be unaffected.”

She also divulged that Essel, DHFL, ILFS, Vodafone were some of the very stressed corporates whom Yes Bank’s loans had advanced. The FM stated that the RBI had noticed governance issues and weak regulatory compliance at the bank, along with faulty asset classification and risky credit decisions.

“We have been monitoring the situation. Now that RBI has come up with a plan, a resolution will be found at the earliest. I want to assure the depositors and investors that both the RBI and the government are looking into the issue. There is no need to panic, their money is safe,” Sitharaman assured.

Will the assurance of Finance Minister bring a glare of hope on gloomy faces of the depositors and employees of Yes Bank?

A current account holder of Yes Bank, harassed by the decision of levying a cap of ₹50000 on all withdrawals,  says, “I am to make the salary payments on March 10 to the poor workers employed in my small factory, from where should I pay? Assurance doesn’t fill the belly. If the FM is so much confident to revive the financial corona affected bank, then why she is stopping the depositors money? She should stop further advancements only.”

Addressing an event organized by the Indian Banks Association in which EASE 3.0 was unveiled on Wednesday, February 26, 2020, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, annoyed with the slow advancement by Public Sector Bank, pulled up PSU banks on poor branch level connections with customers, which is affecting the credit push. She added that the branch-level connect of the PSU banks with customers is not as it was earlier.

But before scolding the staff of PSU banks, the FM should look into the causes. Why are PSU bank staff losing connections with customers? Why are PSU bank employees not financing with the speed desired by the FM?

The FM should not force the PSU banks to finance with bullet speed and keep in mind that speed thrills, but kills. Now, the speedy financing has shown its results at Yes Bank.

Former Finance Minister P Chidambaram raises the question, “When overall bank credit during the above period grew by about 10 per cent, how did YES BANK’s loan book grow by about 35 per cent?”

Reacting on Sitharaman’s comment that PSU bank staff is losing connections with the customers, a retired banker asks, “Why the salary of the public sector bank employees has not been revised since November 2017? Why they are forced to go on strikes even for their routine salary revision? Why the retirees of Regional Rural Banks are still deprived of their pensionary benefits in letter and spirit as decided by the Supreme Court of India? Has the FM ever even thought of the results of such a negative attitude of the central government?”

Now, SBI is considering to invest ₹2450 crore by buying a 49% stake in the troubled bank. Will it not be a forced step of the government to stake public money and hard-earned profit of the same SBI, which is being run by the employees whom the Finance Minister is scolding?

The All India Bank Employees’ Association has raised the question over the role of RBI and demanded to make them answerable and accountable.

The General Secretary of the Association, CH Venkatachalam in a press release dated March 6 says, “RBI, being the regulator, cannot be unaware of the ongoings in Yes Bank. RBI cannot extricate itself from responsibilities. The government must make RBI answerable and accountable.”

Demanding the nationalisation of all private banks, Mr CH Venkatachalam adds, “One by one private banks, which are glorified by the government, are failing. It is high time that the government should take a call and repeat 1969. All private banks should be brought under the public sector. Peoples’ money is for peoples’ welfare and not for private loot.”

But, who listens to cries in the wilderness?

Featured image for representation purpose only.
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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

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The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

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With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

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Read more about the campaign here.

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The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

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A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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