‘Bank a public authority under RTI’
The State government Tuesday said the Jammu and Kashmir Bank being a government-owned company was answerable to the legislature in some respect but still the government would re-examine the accountability of the bank to the legislature.
“This (legislative accountability) is what has been stated in the State Administrative Council (SAC) decision. This does not add any new element,” the Raj Bhawan said in a statement issued to the press on Tuesday, clearing the air around the recent controversial SAC order declaring the bank as a Public Sector Undertaking along with bringing it under the ambit of the Right to Information Act.
On the bank being transformed into a PSU, the government stated the J&K Bank was jointly regulated by Reserve Bank of India – as an old generation private sector bank - by the Registrar of Companies as it is a Government Company under Companies Act and by Security Exchange Board of India (SEBI) as it is a listed company.
The government said the bank would continue to be regulated by the RBI, SEBI and the Registrar of Companies.
“No changes are being made here or contemplated,” the government statement reads.
However, the government said the bank had been brought under the RTI act as it was a public authority.
“J&K Bank is a public authority under the RTI act and hence is subject to the transparency provisions of RTI. Nothing new is being imposed in this regard,” the government said adding that transparency was good for the bank in the long term.
The government’s clarification comes a week after protests by various political parties, trade and business groups and the J&K Bank Employees Association.
The government’s statement came just after the bank employees association met Governor Satya Pal Malik on Tuesday.
The government stated that no changes were being made to the nature of the J&K Bank’s ownership as well.
“J&K Bank is registered as a Government Company under the Companies Act. The word PSU has no legal connotation. J&K Bank continues to be a government-owned company. No new changes are being made here,” the government said.
The government said the employees of the bank should not be concerned about their employment, future prospects or salary structure under any circumstances.
“The board of the bank is competent to take decisions in this regard and the powers vested in the board. No changes are being contemplated on this front,” the government said. “The board of the bank is the appropriate forum for taking and implementing all decisions of J&K Bank.”
The government said safeguarding the autonomy and operational independence of the bank was a key objective of the government at all times.
It said J&K Bank was a “premier institution” of the state and its financial health and future growth was of utmost importance to Jammu Kashmir.
“Therefore, the government will support all initiatives and take necessary steps to make the J&K Bank a vibrant Institution,” the government stated.