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RBI Settlement Systems Hit As 17,000 Staff Go On Strike

The RBI unions are opposing the government move to take away the public debt management activities from the central bank and curtail its powers on the monetary policy

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The Reserve Bank of India's settlement systems for banks and markets were not functional so far in the day as about 17,000 employees went on a strike called by unions, several traders said on Thursday.

"Usually RTGS (real-time gross settlement) starts early morning," said a dealer.

"Today there is no settlement happening so far."

Another trader said market settlement applications run by the central bank were also not fully functional.

The RBI unions are opposing the government move to take away the public debt management activities from the central bank and curtail its powers on the monetary policy.

The protest, the first at the central bank in six years, has been called by the United Forum of Reserve Bank Officers and Employees, which is the umbrella organisation of four recognised unions of officers and workmen at the central bank.

"The cease-work programme is intended, inter alia, to strongly oppose the government's current moves to cripple the RBI in the name of the draft financial code and legislative reforms," the United Forum had said in a press release.

The Finance ministry is giving the final touches to shift government s debt management functions from RBI to the proposed Public Debt Management Agency (PDMA), which will also henceforth function as depository of government securities (G-Secs), thus taking away from the RBI some vital operations having relevance to money market as well, the Forum added.

The unions are also seeking better retirement benefits which has been pending with the government for the past eight years.

The union is opposing the proposed creation of a monetary policy committee that would include members of the government, seeing it as a curb on the RBI's decision-making powers.

The top management led by governor Raghuram Rajan has been in support of the new monetary policy framework as well as creation of the PDMA.

(Agencies)