Srinagar, December 5: Over the last few weeks, there has been hot debate at various levels over the affairs of Jammu and Kashmir Bank, the premier financial institution of the State. It is good that representatives of the Bank employees and the Governor’s administration met and issues have been clarified, which is a welcome step.
However, certain concerns still remain which need to be addressed. The issues of transparency and accountability must be specifically addressed as the people of the state have every right to know about the affairs of the Bank. If then Finance Minister during his Budget speech in the last session of the Assembly said that “I am deeply pained to inform the house that our premier institution, J&K Bank, there have been some serious lapses in corporate governance and management failures over the last few years,” doesn’t such a disturbing situation demand through discussion and debate in the legislature. It also demands a credible probe to fix the responsibility and also allow the legislature to suggest remedial measures.
J&K Bank’s autonomy has to be protected undoubtedly, but this autonomy should not be used as a pretext to promote big business defaulters at the cost of ordinary customers. Autonomy should lead to strengthening J&K Bank itself, but not the wrong doers.
Scuttling the debate and discussion on this aspect in the legislature is aimed at protecting the erring functionaries and the beneficiaries. The affairs of the Bank must be open for discussion and debate in the legislature.
The attempts of the vested interests to undermine this premier institution of our state must be opposed tooth and nail. Transparency and accountability are the only tools to strengthen every institution, including J&K Bank. There has to be social control over the Bank, and that is not synonym with government control. It should involve parliamentary oversight. Also it should be answerable to the people through the setting up of an appropriate institutional mechanisms. To free this institution from unbearable stress, it is urgently required to put its functioning to the public scrutiny.
Why should Bank resist the RTI Act and its accountability before the J&K Legislature? Is there anything to hide from people of the state? (Retd) Justice Hasnain Masoodi has recently said and rightly so that, “While the Bank is all accommodative to the big business houses, it works like a traditionalSahookaars when it comes to small borrowers.
The unemployment is a serious concern for larger sections of younger generation and any opportunity to provide employment in any institution including J&K Bank must be fair. Transparency alone can create confidence among the unemployed youth. But there are serious misgivings and allegations regarding the recruitment process of J&K Bank and the perception is that there is lack of transparency. What is needed is to provide information to the people, about the recruitment process through RTI and J&K legislature. There are misgivings regarding the recruitment process of J&K Bank and the perception is that there is lack of transparency. What is needed is to provide information to the people, especially youths, about the recruitment process through RTI and J&K legislature.