Why is State Bank of India robbing the small customer?

Seema Kumari asks whether the banks are out to rob the poor and profit the rich.

Bihar is one of the poorest states in India. There are many people who earn less than Rs 3000 per month. They live from hand to mouth. Some of them even don’t get two square meals in a day.
These poor people, encouraged, or one should say pushed by the government have begun trying to save some money in ‘zero balance’ bank accounts for the emergencies. They had been collecting money with difficulties and they were slowly gaining the confidence that the bank was very much beneficial as they could save according to their earning. There was no pressure on them for their saved balance and they were using it according to their convenience.
But now the government (through the Reserve Bank of India) has come up with a new rule for banks, it is now mandatory for all the account holders to have minimum of Rs 5000 in their savings account. SBI (State Bank of India) has started to send warning messages to all account holders.

The SMS basically says that if one does not maintain a balance of Rs 5000, the bank will deduct amounts ranging from Rs 50 to Rs 100 from their savings account every month.

According to an SBI officer from the Patliputra Branch, this new rule will be soon initiated in all the other banks.
This is fine with the people who are economically stable but what about those poor people whom the Modi government encouraged to open zero balance accounts, especially during this demonetisation and ‘cashless’ drive?
So, this new rule has forced me think that if a person earning Rs 3000, has a small bank account with money less than Rs 5,000 then how much the family will spend for their basic needs and what will be left to save?
The new mandatory rule is trying to change the priority as now they will have to deposit their entire earning overlooking their basic needs to follow the rules of the banks (not possible), they will have to be ready to see their names in a defaulters list or they will now have to close their accounts. And if they close their accounts, how will essential things like gas subsidy or other government relief be accessed? This is a vicious cycle!
Post demonetisation, all banks have changed many rules in cahoots with the Reserve Bank of India, which are hurting small bank consumers immensely. In the age of zero balance and no-frills accounts, banks are forcing consumers to maintain a minimum balance in their savings accounts to avoid fines. To promote digitisation, charges have been levied on cash transactions and low-value cheques. The move is guaranteed to hurt the small consumers and depositors. It is a new kind of divide being created.
This is the pseudo development where rich will enjoy and the poor will have to suffer because they are poor. The objective of “Garibi Hatao” (eliminate poverty) is practically changing into “Garibo ko Hatao” (eliminate poor). Where is the ‘sabka saath,’ and sabka vikas’ in these new Government rules?

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Seema Kumari

NEWSNET ONE

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