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Friday 4 November 2011

Occupy, the movement reaches Dalal Street today

Occupy, the movement reaches Dalal Street today
Published: Friday, Nov 4, 2011, 11:30 IST 
By Blessy Chettiar | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA
Make way for India's very own 'Occupy' movement. A month after it picked up steam in America and in Europe, Mumbai is ready to jump on the bandwagon and hold its own version of the popular protest against government economic policies.
The Maharashtra State Bank Employees Federation (MSBEF), affiliated to the All India Bank Employees' Association (AIBEA), will be holding a protest on Friday at the Mumbai Samachar Marg in the city's Fort area.
Vishwas Utagi, general secretary of the MSBEF and secretary of the AIBEA, said, "We have been continuously campaigning against the liberalisation of the Indian economy and especially, the privatisation policy in the banking sector. We demand that emphasis be on the growth of the public sector of India, but the government policies are not working in this favour."
According to Utagi, the economy is on the verge of stagnation because of non-performing assets (NPAs) worth Rs3 lakh-crore that do not earn any interest.
Spelling out the demands of the movement, Utagi said the bankers are opposed to the government's changing policy aimed at liberalisation and privatisation of banks, inviting foreign direct investment in the banking sector and proposal of amending laws that pertain to the handing over of old generation private sector banks to corporates or foreign banks.
"It is the nexus of bankers, borrowers and politicians that create NPAs. Occupy Dalal Street represents social unrest and ills of capitalism because of which the common man is suffering," he adds.
The movement is also joined by the All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC), the All India Students' Federation (AISF) and some groups from Pune.
On why the aam aadmi should be part of the protest, Sukumar Damle, AITUCgeneral secretary said, "A lot of money is locked up in speculative activities in share markets. This causes inflation, which has a direct effect on the cost of living of the aam junta. The government tries to contain this through the RBI, which raises interest rates. All these slow down the economy.”

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