Jammu, Nov 24: The Governor’s Administration Saturday said that it has “no intention” of interfering in the day-to-day affairs of the J&K Bank and the Bank’s functional autonomy with its Board of Directors as supreme decision-making body remains “unquestioned” and the Bank will continue to be regulated by the RBI.
It said the latest decision taken by the State Administrative Council (SAC) is only aimed at promoting good governance and transparency in the functioning of the Bank.
“Extension of RTI Act and CVC guidelines is only aimed at promoting Good Governance and transparency in the functioning of the Bank, as this premiere financial institution has often been questioned on both these counts by the general public,” an official spokesman said.
He said while concerns have been raised in certain isolated quarters, people of the State by and large have hailed the decision across the board as a welcome step.
“The concerns raised by certain isolated quarters mainly relate to the operational autonomy of the bank,” the spokesman said and clarified that the State Administrative Council (SAC) decision has three main elements including J&K Bank being treated as a Public Sector Undertaking, the Bank being brought under the ambit of the Right to Information (RTI), the Bank to follow CVC guidelines and the Bank to be accountable to the Legislative Assembly and its Annual Report to be tabled in the State Legislature.
The spokesperson made it clear that as far as treating J&K Bank as a PSU is concerned it is just a matter of fact and only restating the obvious.
“Since the State Government holds 60% of majority shares in J&K Bank, for all practical purposes, it is a Public Sector Undertaking. Therefore all transparency and accountability features that arise from this have to apply to the bank,” he said and added that the main elements of transparency in J&K Bank will come through the application of the RTI Act as all recruitments and administrative issues of the Bank would be subject to transparency provisions, like all Public Sector Banks of the Government of India and it is being hailed by the people of the State overwhelmingly.
The spokesman said that as far as following CVC guidelines are concerned, these are followed by all Government-owned banks to bring about certain probity into the banking decisions.
“It may be pointed out that J&K Bank was recently fined Rs 3 crore by RBI for not following KYC/ Anti-money laundering norms,” he said and added that bringing the Bank under the ambit of CVC guidelines will ensure better adherence to RBI norms in future.
The spokesperson further clarified the only other decision taken by the SAC is to table Annual Report of the Bank in the State Legislature through the Finance Department.
“In any case, the Annual Report of J&K Bank is placed in the public domain through newspapers and on the official website of the Bank after every Annual General Meeting,” he said.
The spokesperson further explained that since the State Government hold almost 60% share of the J&K Bank, it has the characteristics of a Public Sector Undertaking.
“Only a couple of years back, when the bank was faced with a severe financial crisis, the State Government came to its rescue by infusing capital worth Rs 532 crores,” he said and added that J&K Bank also gets a lion’s share of government business, therefore placing the Annual Report in the State legislature like any other PSU is expected.
“As far as accountability to the legislature is concerned, this is normal for all government-owned banks and is a very limited exercise,” he said and added that the commercial decisions of the bank are not a subject matter of legislative control.
Govt gains full control of JK Bank: Experts
Srinagar, Nov 24:Top constitutional experts of Jammu and Kashmir on Saturday said that Jammu and Kashmir Bank after its declaration as a public sector bank is now fully in the administrative and financial control of the Jammu and Kashmir government and the authority of the bank chairman has been reduced to the extent of the managing director of a public sector corporation.
However they said that a popular government, if put in place, has the powers to roll back such orders by a simple cabinet decision.
Leading constitutional expert and senior advocate at J&K High Court, Zaffar Ahmad Shah said: “The Jammu and Kashmir Bank after its declaration as a public sector bank by Governor Satya Pal Malik has now come under the complete administrative and financial control of the state government. The chairman of the bank is now like a managing director of any public sector corporation of the state government and the government now has the power and authority to nominate members for the board of directors, the highest decision making body of the bank.”
Echoing the words of Zafar Ahmad Shah, another leading constitutional expert and a leading lawyer the High Court Zaffar Qureshi said: “Individuality of the Jammu and Kashmir Bank has been taken away after the Governor declared it a Public Sector Bank. Now the government has the power and authority to nominate members for the board of directors for Jammu and Kashmir Bank and can intervene even in the lending and buying matters. The position of the chairman of the bank has been almost reduced to the extent of a managing director of a public sector corporation.” (KNS)
Time for talks over, world must act now: PM
New Delhi, Feb 18: The Pulwama attack which claimed the lives of 49 CRPF men shows that the time to hold talks on “terrorism” is over and there is an urgent need to unite against such elements, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Monday.
The Prime Minister, who was holding talks with Argentina President Mauricio Macri, said dithering to take action against militants and their supporters will be like encouraging militancy.
“Brutal attack in Pulwama proves that time for talks have passed. Now the entire world needs to unite against ‘terrorism’ and its supporters and take strong actions,” PM said.
President of Argentina Mauricio Macri said, “I would like to convey my condolences to the victims of the cruel attack (Pulwama) perpetrated just a few days ago. We condemn every kind of terrorist attack. I am truly pleased to be able to working together to fight this scourge on mankind.”
Cross LoC trade, bus service suspended
Srinagar, Feb 18: The cross-LoC trade between India and Pakistan via Poonch has been suspended in backdrop of the Pulwama suicide attack in which 49 CRPF personnel were killed last Thursday.
“Since the incident, no truck was allowed to cross the Line of control hence affecting the trade,” an official said.
He added that Poonch-Rawalakot cross-LoC bus service too has been suspended till further orders.
President, Cross LoC trade Union, Pawan Anand told The Kashmir Monitor that 60 trucks are stranded at trade centre (Chakan Da Bagh).
“We got orders to suspend the trade,” he said.
Pawan said that at least they have endured more than 4 crore of losses due to the trade suspension.
He added that most of the trucks are loaded with grapes, tomato, banana, tamarind and ser (zeera).
Besides Poonch, the cross-LoC trade also takes place through Srinagar-Muzaffarabad road in Uri.
However, DC Baramulla, Nasir Ahmad Naqash, confirmed that Uri has not received any order for trade suspension yet.
MBS conferred Nishan-e-Pakistan: Saudi vows to ‘de-escalate’ India-Pakistan tension
Islamabad, Feb 18: Saudi Arabia vowed to “de-escalate” rising tensions between Pakistan and India during a high-profile summit in Islamabad Monday as Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman prepares to travel from Islamabad to New Delhi.
The kingdom’s foreign minister spoke at a press conference in Islamabad as Pakistan recalled its envoy from Delhi for “consultations”, the latest development in a fresh diplomatic crisis between the nuclear-armed neighbors.
Delhi has vowed to retaliate after a suicide blast which killed over 40 Indian paramilitaries in Kashmir on Thursday, the deadliest attack in Kashmir in recent decade.
The attack has sparked widespread calls in India for action against Pakistan.
“Our objective is to try to de-escalate tensions between the two countries, neighboring countries, and to see if there is a path forward to resolving those differences peacefully,” said Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir.
The pledge came as the crown prince, widely known as “MBS”, prepared to head for India later Monday, at the conclusion of his two-day visit to Pakistan.
India is garnering diplomatic support after the attack and has vowed to “isolate” Pakistan diplomatically in the international community, saying it has “incontrovertible evidence” of Islamabad’s role.
Pakistan has rejected the allegations.
Meanwhile, Pakistan President Arif Alvi on Monday conferred the country’s highest civil award — Nishan-e-Pakistan — on Saudi Crown Prince.
Mohammad bin Salman was honoured due to his “outstanding support for reinvigorating Pak-Saudi bilateral relationship”, Dawn reported.
Following the Pakistan president’s speech, the Saudi crown prince, as per Dawn, addressed the audience. “I was honoured to meet the president of Pakistan. I thank you for honouring me with Pakistan’s highest award.
“The brotherly relationship between the kingdom and Pakistan focus on the principle of Islamic solidarity. It is a model to be emulated by other nations. Our [countries’ relationship] go back 67 years that witnessed continuous development that rendered itself beneficial for both countries.
“The founding fathers for both countries established these relations on the principles of truthfulness, common understanding and mutual respect that go back to the first days of the establishment of Pakistan, post-World War 2.
“Our Pakistani brothers participated truthfully and effectively in the great development project that Saudi Arabia witnessed, especially the enlargement project of Masjid-e-Haram and Masjid-e-Nabwi. More than 2 million Pakistanis are working in Saudi Arabia and are contributing to the development of both the countries.
“I wish all the best to the president and the prime minister in the service of this country and its people.”
At the conclusion of the ceremony, the Saudi crown prince said his goodbyes to the Pakistan president and members of the federal cabinet before leaving for Nur Khan Airbase. As was the case when he had arrived, Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan personally drove the car carrying the Saudi crown prince.
On Sunday, MBS signed $20 billion in investment deals with cash-strapped Islamabad and vowed to free thousands of Pakistani prisoners in Saudi custody.
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