Former finance minister Dr Haseeb Drabu on Thursday said that treating J&K bank as a public sector undertaking (PSU) is against economic interest of the state.
“@jandkgovernor ofcourse I have personal interest in @JandKBank. We have emotional equity in it.Ur decision is against economic interest of the state which is against my political interests. Neither is malafide. Wish one could say the same about ur decision,” Drabu wrote on Twitter.
Drabu was reacting on the governor Satya Pal Malik’s statement that only people with “personal or political interests” in J&K Bank are opposing the move to turn the bank into a Public Sector Undertaking (PSU) and the opposition is “without merit”.
“Those who have benefited the most from the bank are opposing this move,” Malik told the Indian Express.
On November 22, the Governor-led State Administrative Council (SAC) had approved the proposal for treating Jammu and Kashmir Bank Limited as a Public Sector Undertaking (PSU).
The move was criticised by all regional political parties, trade and business communities and also the employees of the J&K Bank. In the last few days, it has snowballed into a major issue.
Drabu initiated the society response by terming it disastrous. Drabu has led the bank and as a long-term economic adviser to the state, he has been the architect of the public finance of the Jammu and Kashmir state.
But it is not Drabu alone who is critical of the decision by the governor led State Administrative Council (SAC). “What makes it unacceptable is that it is done by an administration that is neither elected by the people nor accountable to them,” Drabu told Greater Kashmir in an interview. “If tomorrow, the state legislature discusses the matter and decides to bring it under its own control, there can be a debate there. At the end, a view will be taken. Here, it is a set of administrators in the SAC who take a view that has serious implications.”
Former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti had called the move a “disturbing step to snatch every bit of autonomy that our institutions have”. She called union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and suggested the decision by Kashmir governor should be scrapped.
The main regional political party, National Conference has demanded a rollback of the SAC decision.
The Governor’s administration had clarified that the government had “no intention of interfering in the day-to-day affairs of the bank and its functional autonomy”. Besides treating the bank as PSU, the SAC also brought the bank under the ambit of the Right to Information, asked it to follow Central Vigilance Commission guidelines and made it accountable to the Legislative Assembly with its annual report to be tabled in the House.
“Since the State government holds 60% of majority shares in J&K Bank, for all practical purposes, it is a PSU. Therefore all transparency and accountability features that arise from this have to apply to the bank,” a government spokesman had said defending the decision.