The opposition to SBI’s controversial decision to charge depositors for not maintaining minimum balance echoed in the Rajya Sabha on Monday.
CPM member K K Ragesh said the poor should not be penalised for opening accounts at the prodding of the government.
Raising the issue during Zero Hour, Ragesh sought the government’s immediate intervention in reversing the SBI decision, fearing other banks would also follow suit. He said the decision is to resolve the crisis faced by banks at the “expense of the poor”.
The MP said the move to impose penalty by the largest bank in the country for not maintaining minimum balance, “increased from Rs 500 to Rs 5,000”, would affect around 31 crore depositors.
Other banks would follow suit and also impose such charges and it would affect depositors, he added. “This is not going to affect the rich but poor people would be affected. The poor have opened accounts, they are doing digital transactions after the government said so. You are penalising them for obeying the government,” he said.
Ragesh pointed out that the poor are not responsible for the “deep crisis” faced by the banks. “The crisis is mainly due to corporate lending. This is responsible for Non Performing Assets (NPAs). What has the banks and other authorities done to reclaim it,” he asked.
“You are not acting against the corporate sector. You are actually waiving off their loans. You are trying to resolve the crisis at the expense of the poor. The decision of the SBI is nothing but the loot of poor and common man,” he said.