Arguing that the poor could be hit by State Bank of India’s (SBI) decision to levy penalty for non-maintenance of hiked minimum average monthly balance in its saving accounts, the Opposition parties demanded the move be scrapped. SBI, India’s largest lender, has earlier this month decided to levy penalty from April 1 in case depositors fail to maintain the revised monthly balance Rs 5,000 in the saving accounts.
The penalty has been fixed between Rs 20-Rs 100, applicable on the Saving Accounts in six metro cities. While, the penalty is as high as Rs 500 in the case of Current Accounts.
Raising the issue through a Zero Hour mention, CPI(M) member KK Ragesh said the SBI has raised the monthly average balance to be maintained in saving bank accounts to Rs 5,000 from previous limit of Rs 500 and will levy penalty for not adhering to it.
Stating that the move will hit 31 crore depositors, he said the SBI being the largest bank in the country is likely to be followed by other banks.
He also argued that poor and common man was being penalised for following the government move for opening bank accounts and taking up digital transactions.
“It (the decision) is not going to affect rich, but will it the poor people,” he said, adding the state-owned banks were facing a crisis due to rising bad loans or NPAs.
The rising Non-Performing Assets (NPAs), he said, was not a result of loans to the poor or common man but due to corporate lending.
He said the government was not taking stringent action against the corporate defaulters and went on to term the SBI’s decision as “loot of the people of the country.”
“It is not in the interest of the country,” he said urging the government to intervene and ask the SBI to withdraw the decision.
Almost the entire opposition supported the demand with Tapan Sen (CPI-M) stating that a discussion on the issue should be allowed.
The government has already urged the largest public bank to reconsider its decision to levy penalty.
(With inputs from the PTI)