House panel raps banks over minimum balance rule

House panel raps banks over minimum balance rule

A parliamentary standing committee has taken serious note of reports about "certain banks" deducting money from students' scholarship accounts in the name of enforcing minimum balance rule.

Though the panel has not listed the names of such banks in its report tabled in Parliament recently, it has "deprecated" the bank officials for deducting money from the accounts of the students in such a manner.

The committee, headed by BJP MP Ramesh Bais, has suggested the government to instruct the banks to not insist on the maintenance of minimum balance in the scholarship accounts of the students.

"The committee has been informed that certain banks are deducting some amount of the students' from the scholarship fund in the name of maintaining a minimum balance in their account. The committee deprecates such act on the part of bank officials," the panel said in its report.

It questioned the deduction of money from the students' scholarship accounts, pointing out that there was no minimum requirement of money to be kept in the students "zero balance account."

"Such attitude of (the) bank officials is unacceptable," it added.

Though the parliamentary standing committee's report pertaining to the implementation of various educational schemes for students belonging to scheduled tribes, its recommendation that the banks should be instructed not to recover a penalty or other charges from the students scholarship accounts may come as a huge relief to all category of students, if accepted by the government.

"Take up the matter at the highest level with the ministry of finance so that banks are instructed that they should not insist on minimum balance from the students," the panel asked the Union ministry of tribal affairs.

Of late, there have been several reports about some of the banks deducting penalty and also service charges from the accounts of the students in the name of their failure to maintain the minimum balance as prescribed.

According to a media reports, two nationalised banks including the Union Bank of India (UBI) reportedly deducted money from the bank accounts of 11 crore students of the government schools across the country for not maintaining a minimum balance in their accounts even as their accounts were meant for receiving financial assistance under various government schemes.

Taking cognizance of the issue, the National Commission for the Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) reportedly issued a notice to the UBI two months ago, seeking a reply from it.

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