Unions have called one-day protest against banking reforms and privatisation
Thousands of bank employees of public sector and some private sector banks stayed away from work today, in response to a strike call by the unions, disrupting banking operations in most parts of the country. The strike is spearheaded by the United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU) in protest against the proposed banking reforms that the unions say are harmful to the banking industry and the interests of employees.
Ravindra Shetty, convenor of UFBU, said this morning that about 10 lakh bank employees are on strike. Employees of regional rural banks have also joined the protest action. However, according to information available, while most private banks are functioning, operations at some of the older private banks have been partially affected.
Mr Shetty claimed that most of the staff of 24 private banks had joined the protest, although some high-level officers were at work.
While it was announced that ATMs would also be affected, there is expected to be pressure on the ones that are working, as they have limited cash storage.
"At the 65,000 banking outlets across the country that offer ATM services there is going to be load on the ATMs since they can hold only Rs2 lakh to Rs3 lakh cash," Mr Shetty said. "Since the banks are shut and people would crowd the ATMs, the cash could run out within a couple of hours."
The unions say that reforms have led to outsourcing of regular bank jobs that will curtail the opportunity for younger people looking for jobs.
They have demanded the scrapping of recommendations of the AK Khandelwal Committee, which proposed sweeping changes in the functioning of public sector banks, particularly in the matter of recruitment and compensation. Other pending issues include pension and regulated working hours for officers.
The unions say that in the name of banking reforms the government is trying to reduce its equity share in public sector banks and allowing the increase of private capital in these banks.
The unions have unsuccessfully discussed the issues with representatives of the government, and earlier this week even with the chief labour commissioner.
As part of the consent terms, NSE has agreed to remove ‘FTIL-ODIN’ from its watch-list with immediate effect and has also agreed to FTIL the Application Protocol Interface (API) for the currency market segment
New Delhi: Weeks after being pronounced guilty of abusing its dominant market position by the Competition Commission of India (CCI), leading bourse the National Stock Exchange (NSE) has settled a trading software dispute with its fierce rival Financial Technologies (FTIL).
“National Stock Exchange and Financial Technologies settled all their disputes in relation to a suit in the Bombay High Court in this matter,” FTIL said today in a regulatory filing.
The two filed ‘consent terms’ for the settlement yesterday, the filing further said.
NSE and FTIL have had significant business relationship, till the time the latter was only in trading software and commodity exchange business with MCX.
However, they came into direct rivalry after FTIL group decided to enter stock exchange business with MCX-SX and their dispute is said to have come into light over the ODIN matter.
The dispute dates back to 2008, when NSE had put FTIL’s trading and risk management system software ODIN on 'watch list' after alleging it to have bugs and various other issues.
At that time, ODIN used to command about 80% market share in Indian market as a vast majority of brokerage houses were using this trading platform.
However, ending their long-running dispute in this matter, NSE and FTIL have now reached a settlement.
As part of the consent terms, NSE has agreed to remove ‘FTIL-ODIN’ from its watch-list with immediate effect and has also agreed to FTIL the Application Protocol Interface (API) for the currency market segment.
Also, the NSE has agreed “to grant approvals in respect of new services/products of FTIL, subject to completion of pre-described requirements as agreed and FTIL shall co-operate with NSE for the same”.
Earlier in June this year, the CCI ruled that NSE was guilty of abusing its dominant market position. The CCI order followed a probe by it pursuant to a complaint filed by MCX-SX, where NSE was accused of killing competition in the currency derivatives business.
MCX-SX is currently allowed to trade in currency market only and its application for equity and other segments has been rejected by SEBI. MCX-SX has challenged the SEBI decision and the matter is currency sub-judice.
In its order, CCI had also directed NSE to put in place a system that would allow brokers a choice to select any software for trading, including ODIN, on the NSE platform.
According to the CCI, NSE’s conduct in refusing to share Application Programme Interface Code (APIC) with ODIN and putting FTIL on watch list was an ‘exclusionary conduct’.
The APIC would allow the ODIN users to connect to the NSE trading platform through their preferred mode.
Fears of a double-dip recession following weak economic data roiled global markets
Indian stocks are likely to witness a gap-down opening following a rout in the US markets on Thursday with the three major indices in the negative territory for the year. The plunge was on account of the poor shape of the nation’s economy and renewed debt concerns from Europe. Tracking the gloomy US markets, the Asian pack was trading with deep cuts in early trade on Friday. The SGX Nifty was down a huge 158 points at 5,182 compared to its previous close of 5,340.
A positive closing on the US market on Wednesday helped the indices open higher yesterday. However, fresh inflation data dented the gains in the first half of trading and a drop in European shares on weak economic data pulled down the indices further in late trade.
The Nifty opened seven points higher at 5,412 and the Sensex started the day at 17,984, up 43 points over its previous close. PSU, banking, realty and metal stocks were in demand in early trade. The indices rose to the day’s high in the first hour, with the Nifty touching 5,435 and the Sensex at 18,033.
However, the market soon slipped into negative terrain, then stayed range-bound, hovering on both sides of the neutral line till around noon. The steep rise in weekly food inflation data to 8.04% for the week to 23rd July from 7.33% in the previous week, pushed the market into the red, and all sectoral indices traded lower.
The indices fell to their intra-day lows in late trade, as key European markets pared initial gains and slipped into the red. At the day’s low, the Nifty was down to 5,323 and the Sensex touched 17,665. The market settled a tad above these levels, with significant losses for a third day in a row. The Nifty closed at 5,332, down 73 points, and the Sensex declined 247 points to 17,693.
Markets in the US plunged overnight with the Dow seeing its worst one-day fall since December 2008. All three major indices are now in the negative for 2011. Concerns bout the deteriorating economy fresh worries about the debt crisis in Europe led to the decline. European Central Bank president Jean-Claude Trichet’s comments that “downside risks have intensified” led the region’s key indices lower on Thursday.
Although initial claims for state unemployment benefits fell by 1,000 to a seasonally adjusted 400,000 last week, fears of another recession loomed large. The non-farm payroll report, to be announced on Friday, will be keenly watched.
The decline in stocks also resulted in a fall in crude and gold on fears that the slowdown will cut demand for commodities.
The Dow tumbled 512.46 points (4.31%) at 11,383.98, its biggest one-day fall since December 2008. The S&P 500 fell 60.21 points (4.78%) at 1,200.13. The more than 10% drop on the index since 29th April means the index has entered what is known as a ‘correction’. The Nasdaq tanked 136.68 points (5.08%) at 2,556.39.
Markets in Asia joined the global rout as the European and US markets closed with deep cuts overnight on signs of a faltering global economy. The development sparked worries of a double-dip recession across the developed as well as developing world.
The Shanghai Composite fell 1.78%, the Hang Seng sank 4.07%, the Jakarta Composite tumbled 5.01%, the KLSE Composite fell 1.31%, the Nikkei 225 declined 3.36%, the Straits Times slipped 2.63%, the Seoul Composite declined 2.95% and the Taiwan Weighted tanked 4.11% in early trade.
Back home, weeks after being pronounced guilty of abusing its dominant market position by the Competition Commission of India (CCI), the National Stock Exchange (NSE) has settled a trading software dispute with its fierce rival Financial Technologies (FTIL).
“National Stock Exchange and Financial Technologies settled all their disputes in relation to a suit in the Bombay High Court in this matter,” FTIL said in a regulatory filing ON Wednesday. The two filed ‘consent terms’ for the settlement on Tuesday, the filing further said.