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Five-day week for banks on the cards
BS Banking Bureau in Mumbai |
September 16, 2003 08:15 IST
Consumers may soon stop complaining about the host of holidays in the banking industry. The Indian Banks' Association has proposed a reduction in the number of bank holidays from about 24 to three from next year.
Bankers, too, may find very little to complain about the cut in holidays as the IBA proposal envisages a five-day week for the industry.
"With most markets closed on Saturdays, it does not make sense to keep banks open. Banks can work five days a week but for longer hours," IBA chief executive H N Sinor said.
The apex bankers' body will hold discussions with various trade bodies on this issue and approach state governments to cut the number of bank holidays recognised under the Negotiable Instruments Act. Under the proposal, banks across the country will remain closed only on three days a year - January 26, August 15 and October 2.
"Banks are now closed on Diwali, Id and all other religious festivals. We want to convert these holidays into sectional holidays," Sinor pointed out. This essentially means that employees belonging to a particular community will be able to take leave on those days but banks will remain open.
IBA will discuss the proposal with the Confederation of Indian Industry, Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry and other business associations, which have been demanding abolition of frequent bank holidays.
If they have no problem with the proposal, the bankers' body will take it up with the finance ministry as well as the state governments.
With most banks working 24 hours a day through ATMs and other channels, a five-day week may not face much resistance from the public. Banks will, however, continue to have the freedom to keep some of their branches open on Saturdays and even on Sundays, depending on local needs.