The Finance Ministry on Friday asked state governments to vaccinate employees of banks and insurance companies on priority. The ministry stated that they are exposed to high risks amid the pandemic. Department of Financial Services Secretary Debasish Panda addressed chief secretaries of states and union territories in a letter asking them to consider a special dispensation for vaccination of bank and insurance companies staff, business correspondents, payment systems and other financial services providers on priority
"Kudos to our Bankers, Insurers, Payment Service Providers, Bank Mitras for ensuring uninterrupted delivery of banking and financial services to people in need during these challenging times," said Panda in a tweet. He said that many of these employees have succumbed to COVID-19.
"All state/UT governments are requested to instruct local authorities to provide them necessary help and support in ensuring delivery of banking and financial services. Vaccinating them on priority will mitigate their high exposure to risk in delivery of public service," he said.
"Likewise, offices of banks and branches have occasionally been ordered to shut down by state law enforcement authorities even during permitted banking hours, accompanied by threats. While bank employees are already braving risks to their health and need to be assured about their safety, these incidents end up demoralising them...and disruption in services," it said.
He asked chief secretaries to instruct district administration and local authorities to cooperate with bank and financial services employees, provide adequate security to them and not impede their functioning or movement.
Welcoming the move, All India Bank Employees Association general secretary CH Vekatachlam said priority vaccination is very important.