Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik Tuesday allayed fears of J&K bank employees and said safeguarding the autonomy and operational independence of the institution would remain the key objective of the state administration.
Malik gave the assurance to a delegation of bank employees who called on him, an official spokesman said.
Last month, the State Administrative Council (SAC) headed by the governor approved a proposal for treating the J&K Bank Limited as a PSU, bringing it under the purview of the Right to Information Act, the Chief Vigilance Commissioner guidelines and the state legislature.
The SAC move has come under widespread criticism from mainstream political parties, separatists and business and trade organisations.
"As far as the PSU matter is concerned, the J&K Bank is regulated (i) by the RBI as an old generation private sector bank, (ii) by the Registrar of Companies as it is a Government Company under the Companies Act and (iii) by SEBI as it is a listed company. It will continue to be regulated by the RBI, SEBI and the Registrar of Companies. No changes are being made here or contemplated," the governor told the delegation.
"The J&K Bank is registered as a government company under the Companies Act. The word PSU has no legal connotation. The bank continues to be a government Owned company. No new changes are being made here," he said.
The governor said as a government company, the J&K Bank is a public authority under the RTI Act and hence is automatically subject to the transparency provisions of the RTI.
"Nothing new is being imposed in this regard. Transparency is good for the bank in the long term," he said.
Malik said as far as the accountability to the legislature is concerned, all government-owned or controlled companies, including the J&K Bank which is registered as a government company, are accountable to the legislature in some respect.
"This is what has been stated in the SAC decision. This does not add any new element. However, in view of the concerns expressed, and to give comfort to employees, the government will re-examine the issue of accountability to legislature," he said.
He said the J&K Bank is a premier institution of the state and its financial health and future growth is of utmost importance to Jammu and Kashmir.
"Therefore, the administration would support all initiatives and take necessary steps to make the J&K Bank a vibrant institution," the governor said.
He said the workers 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 vest in the board. No changes are being contemplated on this front," he said.
Malik said the board of the bank is the appropriate forum for taking and implementing all decisions.
"Safeguarding the autonomy and operational independence of the bank is key objective of the administration at all times," Malik added.