Banking services hit in northeast India

Banking services were badly hit in the northeastern region Wednesday as most of the public sector banks were closed responding to a two-day nationwide strike call to protest the government's proposed banking sector reforms.

"More than 10,000 bank employees belonging to over 2,000 branches of nationalised banks in the seven northeastern states took part in the strike opposing the proposed amendments of the banking laws," said United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU) spokesman Sushobhan Datta Majumder, quoting shutdown reports from across the region.

"The proposed reforms in the banking sector are expected to be undertaken aiming at mergers, acquisitions and outsourcing of routine activities of Indian banks and to allow foreign banks and investors in these activities and banking managements."

The UFBU has observing the strike after its talks with the Indian Banks Association failed recently in New Delhi.

"Wednesday's bank strike is not for the interests of the employees alone, the shutdown is to protest anti-national policies of the central government and to protect Indian banks from foreign controls," Majumder said on the sideline of the sit-in demonstration of the banks employees here.

The banking employees have also been protesting outsourcing of non-core activities by the authorities.

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