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Bank unions lend support to farmers’ agitation against agri laws

A number of bank unions have expressed their solidarity with farmers protesting against recently passed agri laws and requested the government to resolve the issue at the earliest.

The All India Bank Employees’ Association (AIBEA) in a statement said the government should come forward and resolve their demands in the interest of the nation and farmers.

Officer unions All India Bank Officers’ Confederation (AIBOC), All India Bank Officers’ Association (AIBOA) and Indian National Bank Officers’ Congress (INBOC) have also requested the government to initiate meaningful dialogue to resolve the impasse by referring the bills to a select committee by a special Presidential Order.

The farming community has expressed apprehension that three new laws — Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020 and Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020 — would pave the way for dismantling of the minimum support price system, leaving them at the “mercy” of big corporations.

Enacted in September, the laws have been projected by the government as major reforms in the agriculture sector that will remove the middlemen and allow farmers to sell anywhere in the country.

“Our nation needs peace and main stakeholders of the nation should not be made to suffer, as the agriculture sector alone performed positively in the COVID-19 pandemic, which reflects the inherent strength of the sector,” three officers’ unions said in a joint statement.

The peasants constitute 80 per cent of the customer base of the public sector banks, regional rural banks, co-operative banks and old generation private banks and thus are major stakeholders of India’s banking system, it said.

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