A demand was made in the Rajya Sabha today to scrap the decision of the State Bank of India, the nation’s largest lender, to levy penalty for non-maintenance of hiked minimum average monthly balance in saving accounts of Rs 5,000. Raising the issue through a Zero Hour mention, CPI(M) member K K Ragesh said the SBI has raised the monthly average balance to be maintained in saving bank accounts to Rs 5,000 from 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.
Poor and common man was being penalised for following the government dictat for opening bank accounts and taking up digital transactions.
“It (the decision) is not going to affect rich, but will hit the poor people,” he said, adding the state-owned banks were facing a crisis due to rising bad loans or NPAs.
The rising Non-Pereforming Assets (NPAs), he said, was not a result of loans to the poor or common man but due to corporate lending.
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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.