Like our Facebook Page

Early Times Newspaper Jammu, Leading Newspaper Jammu
Breaking News :   Mumbai BJP chief Mangal Prabhat Lodha gets EC notice for alleged communal remark at rally | Govt handling economy well, crisis began when Manmohan Singh was PM and Raghuram Rajan RBI governor: FM Nirmala Sithraman | Air Force officer's mobile phone, cash snatched from Delhi's Connaught Place, probe underway | Women folk observe fasting as festival of 'Karwachauth' celebrated with fervour in Jammu | Pak militants active in Kashmir | Chief secretary reviews arrangements for ''Darbar move'' | Are we dumb and silent sheeps - being led to slaughter house? | Jammu to host two-day national disaster management conference in Nov | Natrang commences series of screening of movie on Gulab Singh | JK admin further boosts Kashmir horticulture fortunes, forgets Jammu again! | Dozens of meetings with Advisor fails to secure extension for 550 SSPG teachers | Seem hell bent upon breaking back of people by targeting innocents | Killing of three non-locals shock apple traders, police comes up with wanted posters | Governor blames Pak for deaths of three civilians, says no plan to restore prepaid mobile services | Cong, PDP, NC leaders maintain criminal silence over killing of outsiders in Valley | Need your support to change our destinies: Munish to people | Will distribute my salary among needy' | 20,000 govt schools in Jammu region lack proper infrastructure | SC Collegium clears TWO names for elevation as High Court Judges | Govt mulling to revive agreement with power giant NHPC | Ahead of SAC meeting, blue-eyed all set to misguide members | J&K administration orders abolition of legislative council, asks its staff to report to GAD | PDD employees extend strike, call on Div Com | Private transporters go on indefinite strike against toll plaza | Non-local truck drivers given protection in Kashmir | Govt to undertake special drive to enrol traders under PM-LVMY pension scheme | IIT Jammu's student dies under mysterious circumstances in college | Govt accords sanction to Move Travel Allowance from Rs 15000 to Rs 25000 | Passenger Vehicles charge exorbitant fares | Rifles, explosives recovered from house in Kishtwar | Dheeraj Gupta chairs 4th BoD meeting of Srinagar Smart City Limited | Women, children also lose nerves to conflict in Kashmir | Advisors Skandan, Kumar chair 6th State Road Safety Council meet | Negligence of Traffic Police creates huge traffic jam in Poonch | Gultha residents accuse PHE employees of neglecting leakage in pipes | JKNPP activists protests, demands abolition of Toll plazas | RPO Srinagar asks Hajj aspirants to check passport for validity, any damage | NC seeks immediate winding up of Sarore Toll Plaza | Advisor Ganai reviews supply, stock positioning of food grains | Advisor Sharma meets public delegations, seeks fast-track redress people's grievances | BJP disqualifies leaders for ''anti-party activities'' in J-K | Huge bid to smuggle bovine busted at Toll Post Lakhanpur | HC upholds detention of petitioner under PSA | BJP has relieved Valmiki Samaj of sufferings: Bhagat | JMC seals cement store | JMC imposes fine against violators for creating insanitation | Congress expresses displeasure over delay in result of class IV GMCH posts | 90 pc rejuvenation work on 3715 hectares of saffron land done: Officials | DC Samba calls for effective road safety measures | Drug peddler gets 12 years imprisonment under NDPS case | District police organizes symposium on police martyrs' bravery | BDC Elections: 2nd randomization of polling staff held at Rajouri | BDC Elections: Training imparted to Polling staff at Doda | Vishwakarma Shobha Yatra on Oct 20 | State Open Sport Climbing competition to begin on Oct 23 | JSS Jammu outshines in Tug Of War Championship | DYSS Kathua organizes Speed Ball, Soft Ball, Belt Wrestling competition | Heritage School wins Best School Trophy | Shiksha Niketan organizes "Rangoli competition" | Second day of Inter Block District level Tournament held | DPS Nagbani organises Inter-House Athletic Meet | Capacity building training on GPDP held at Ramban | GDC Doda students shine in SANGAM Youth Festival 2019 | Five day civil defence training camp begins | DPS Leh celebrates Swachh Bharat Abhiyan | Vijay Reddy felicitates people for planting Peepal | BVP organises National Group Song Competition-2019 | DLC organizes Induction cum Investiture ceremony | All new KWID launched in Jammu | JMC organizes awareness programme on SWM | DPS Jammu student qualifies for National Rifle Shooting Competition | Dance sports council shines in All India Dance sports festival | JKSSBA selects 14 member team for 2nd Inter National Speed Ball Championship | Back Issues  
news details
Banking with full communication lockdown: Travails, risks bankers face
9/22/2019 9:43:03 PM
Early Times Report
Leh, Sept 22 Chasing down the staffers, giving in to unusual demands and even paying the cost of defiance at times, bankers in the restive Kashmir Valley have been going through a tumultuous time since the complete lockdown, while ensuring "skeletal" operations.
Officials hailing from outside the Valley were pulled out in the days leading to the Centre''s mega moves in Jammu & Kashmir on August 5. There were ominous signs of the lurking danger, but there was no information what was in the offing and the gigantic nature of the lockdown.
After an overnight lockdown of the entire state, the Centre abrogated Articles 370 and 35A which gave the state a distinct identity and special powers, and simultaneously decided to bifurcate J&K into two Union territories.
"For the first three-four days after August 5, our operations were fully shut. Curfew was clamped across the Valley. In the past month, we had just skeletal operations in many parts, while some branches in sensitive areas remain shut," a senior banker looking after the operations for a top lender visiting this town said.
The curse of modern banking is its reliance on communications, a luxury for the region''s 90 lakh residents, and also banks and bankers, who had to resort to crude and sometimes very ingenious ways of working around this impediment, he says.
In the days when some normalcy started to return, teams would spread out to addresses on record to chase their colleagues. Some were found immediately and others with some efforts as they have moved places.
Shops and commercial establishments have started opening very early in the morning every day, and the bankers followed suit in keeping the operations open during these hours, even though they fall outside the notified banking hours.
And banking in all these days involve mostly just one aspect of banking - cash withdrawals alone.
"In the skeletal operations that we manage to carry out, we have only one transaction taking place - cash withdrawals. New lending and also fresh deposits are fully shut," a colleague of the senior banker cited above explains and adds that the leased BSNL lines are the lifeline for making such operations possible.
Sometimes, there have been unusual requests. Local Army commanders and also district officials - livid at their staff not being able to transact, or some official work being stuck.
"They send vehicles looking for us at our residences. We go in convoys to open a branch, and after the required transactions and we are dropped back home" says a third banker, also based in Srinagar.
The state government-run J&K Bank, the lead bank for the state, has the maximum over 700 branches, followed by SBI which has over 180. Thousands of officials are involved in rendering banking services to the people of the Valley.
Bankers have seen lockdowns in the past including a six-month one in 2016 after the gunning down of the local militant Burhan Wani, but insist this is different.
There are instances where stones have been pelted at branches while being opened, and there is also a case of a female banker's two-wheeler was stolen allegedly by locals for daring to open the branch, recalls the banker.
After understanding the banking patterns, the officials feel keeping the ATMs running will be of help. The on-site ATMs located at branches is easier, but the off-site ones, generally outsourced to vendors, is pain point.
Being the casual staff, they should have moved from the registered addresses, making it tougher to get to them, especially in the absence of any communication facility. But the staff did manage to find a few, ATMs replenishments could begin.
However, it is as an anti-climax of sorts. "At the time of putting cash, the loader depends on an one-time password (OTP) which he receives through an SMS," the banker rues, explaining inabilities to start the process.
Similarly, for want of communications, all the digital banking avenues are fully shut. There are no card swipe transactions at merchant establishments as the point-of-sale machines are also shut, no wallets like Paytm functions, nor can the unified payment interface services be accessed by customers, officials explained. Cash rules.
However, cash management was or is also a problem, with the currency chests becoming out of bounds.
"Many of the officer cadre or managerial staff is from outside the state. While leaving the valley, they deposited the keys to the chests with the administrative personnel. It takes two keys together to open the vault and the people holding on to hundreds of keys find it difficult," explains the Srinagar-based banker.
The high-ranking official, who hails from outside the state but continues to stay in Jammu, explains that the problems are faced only in the 10 districts of the Kashmir Valley, which are under the lockdown, while other parts of state especially in Jammu and Ladakh regions, are almost normal.
The lender has also had to cancel recruitment drives as the exam is carried out online, or request candidates from the Valley to go to Jammu to take the exam, the banker says, adding local cable TV ''news channels'' and a newspaper have been handy to pass out messages.
Another banker from the Valley, but now based in Leh, explains the personal side as well. There is complete normalcy as the Buddhist-majority Ladakhis are celebrating, and the banking operations are normal. But he has not been able to speak to his family back home and is not keen on taking the road journey down into the Valley across the Zojila Pass, which has now become an arduous one.
  Share This News with Your Friends on Social Network  
  Comment on this Story  
Early Times Android App
BSE Sensex
NSE Nifty
Home About Us Top Stories Local News National News Sports News Opinion Editorial ET Cetra Advertise with Us ET E-paper
J&K Govt. Official website
Jammu Kashmir Tourism
Mata Vaishnodevi Shrine Board
Shri Amarnath Ji Shrine Board
Shri Shiv Khori Shrine Board
Train Enquiry
Jammu Kashmir Bank
State Bank of India
Passport Department
Income Tax Department
IT Education
Web Site Design Services
Jammu University
Jammu University Results
Kashmir University
IGNOU Jammu Center