Banks to Remain Out of Reach for Over Week from March 28; ASSOCHAM

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The holiday season , coupled with annual closing of accounts for the financial year from March 28 right through the next week till April 5 will result in a lot disruption in financial transactions in the stock markets, normal commercial deals, export shipments, import consignments and salary payments, ASSOCHAM noted with concern.

March 28 is holiday on account of Ram Nawami followed by Sunday. Then the banks open on March 30 for a day for public and would be out of reach for the general public on March 31 and April 1 due to annual closing.

On April 2, the banks along with government offices remain shut because of Mahavir Jayanti to be followed by Good Friday on April 3. On the following day, banks work for a couple of hours on Saturday to be followed by Sunday on April 6.

Banks to Remain Out of Reach for Over Week from March 28; ASSOCHAM

So, virtually from March 28 till April 6, the banking transactions are going to be affected. '' We would urge the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to step in and advise the banks to make some arrangements.

With the government being the majority owners of the public sector banks, the Finance Ministry should also prevail on the bank managements to avoid this kind of huge customer inconvenience and widespread disruption to the business environment,'' ASSOCHAM Secretary General Mr D S Rawat said in a statement.

He said, on the one hand, the government wants the economy to be captured in a formal financial architecture, on the other ''this financial architecture is used to long holidays. Now this is not the vibrant business and economic environment which can make India a financial hub,''.

According to ASSOCHAM, while the ATMs would remain operational, there is a different kind of problems. ''A large number of ATMs do not work properly. Besides, they are not even well spread. There would be a cluster of ATMs and then you may not find them for kilometers at a stretch even in big cities''.

Besides, there is a limit of cash withdrawals. For all practical purposes,the ATMs at best are doing only the cash vending jobs. ''What about rest of the banking transactions like cheque clearances, letters of credit for the exporters/importers, salary disbursals? The week of holidays from March 28 is going to be a difficult for businesses''.

Apart from banks, a string of holidays would also affect operations at the cargo stations of the airlines, customs at the port.

''As it is our exports are in a state of disarray with 15 per cent de-growth in February. These holidays would certainly tell upon the export figures for March and April, when the figures for these months are released'' said ASSOCHAM.

''We need to somehow get out of this long stretches of holidays, which though may be good for holiday sellers and tour operators. But that is only a limited positive against a big balance tilted in favour of negatives,'' the chamber said.

Source: Assocham

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