Reversing its earlier order, the Reserve Bank today said the bank branches dealing in government businesses need not remain open on April 1 in view of the annual closing business. In its earlier directive on March 24, the RBI had asked all authorised banks to be open on all days from March 25 to April 1, including Saturday, Sunday and all holidays, to facilitate the government’s receipts and payments. The departments concerned of RBI were also to remain open on these days. In its revised instructions issued today, RBI said, “On reconsideration, it has been decided that these branches need not be opened on April 1, 2017.”
In a letter to the Indian Banks’ Association, unions AIBEA and AIBOA today said the RBI issued the directive “very late, causing huge resentment” among bank employees. “The RBI is fully aware that March 25 and 26 would be weekly holidays for the banks. But very late on 24th evening, the RBI had flashed their instructions through the press and electronic media,” said a joint letter written by them. Banks remain closed on April 1 every year for their annual closing of accounts.
“In this connection, it has been represented that opening of bank branches on April 1, 2017, may disrupt annual closing, especially in view of merger of some banks taking effect from that date,” RBI added further.
In consultation with the government, it has, therefore, been decided that while agency banks are to keep all their branches dealing with government business open on all days in the current financial year (including Saturday, Sunday and all holidays), these branches need not be kept open on April 1, 2017, RBI said.
AIBOA and AIBEA also pointed to the inconvenience caused to banks that are not sure which branches will remain open and who should attend office. They alleged that the RBI has been taking banks and their staff “for granted” and they must be conveyed well in advance before any such directive.