Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.
Amid country-wide lockdown to prevent the spread of coronavirus, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Saturday asked state-owned and private sector banks to ensure there was “adequate liquidity” at the branch, ATM and banking correspondent level. Banking and financial services are exempt from the lockdown.
Sitharaman held one-on-one interactions over the phone with heads of all government and leading private banks, who assured assured of customer services without disruption and keeping all branches open.
The minister said she will discuss with states and ensure there are no restrictions on the movement of cash, bankers, vendors or bank mitras.
“Had a detailed conversation with the chiefs of banks — public & private. Encouraging to know that they are doing their best, even during the lockdown. They are certain that they’ll ensure customer service without disruption. Social distancing is being adhered to as well,” Sitharaman said in a series of tweets on Saturday.
“Bank officials and staff have consistently been on the frontline in providing services to customers during this time of adversity, whether it is physically providing cash where it is needed or keeping branches open no matter what,” she said. According to Indian Banks’ Association (IBA), 1,05,988 bank branches across the country were operational on Friday.
Meanwhile, the Department of Financial Services, which oversees the country’s banking and insurance sector operations, has created has created a new handle @DFSFightsCorona to help customers raise complaints, queries and concerns on banking and insurance-related issues with regard to coronavirus related relief measures.
Sitharaman’s interactions comes a day after the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) announced a series of measures to reduce interest rates and inject liquidity into the economy.