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The Public Sector Banks have been levying various bank charges, which directly affects the poorest sections of society. Thomas Franco, Former General Secretary of All India Bank Officers Confederation, explains these bank Charges in the context of the rising NPAs and their impact on the poor. He argues that the bank charges needs to be reviewed immediately.

The Bank Charges is a Loot and Must be Scrapped: Medha Patkar

The Bank Customers Must Make Their Voices Heard: Sucheta Dalal

National Hawkers Federation demands that all bank charges must be scrapped immediately. Otherwise, four crore hawkers from across the country will hit the streets.: Shaktiman Ghosh

NPAs Being Recovered from the Common Consumers Through Bank Charges: Dr Sunilam

Bank Charges are Unacceptable & It has to Go: Vijoo Krishnan

The massive loot in the name of bank charges has to be resisted and Modi government must be taught a lesson, says Kavita Krishnan, Secretary of AIPWA and Polit Bureau Member of CPI(ML).

Paying fine for not having money is the reality of achchhe din: Umar Khalid

Why are Vijaya Bank and SBI Charging Money for Providing Services, asks Bhagwan Kesbhat from Navi Mumbai.

Bank Charges Hurt Weaker Sections Like Pensioners Badly: Suma Philip

If banks can charge on minimum balance then why can’t do so on maximum balance, asks Anil Kumar Yadav, a Delhi-based delivery executive. He says, I earn Rs 9,000 a month, which leaves him with insufficient balance at the end of the month.

Government must stop arbitrariness of the Banks, says Ankur Singh, a savings account holder at the Bank of Baroda’s Koiripur branch in Sultanpur, Uttar Pradesh.

“Once my child was unwell, when I went to the ATM to withdraw money for medicines, I couldn’t withdraw it as I had insufficient balance due to the bank charges,” recounts, Dilip Kumar, a migrant workers from Bihar working at Kerala. He asks, how can the people like me who also send money back home, maintain Rs 2000 as minimum balance in the bank.

“If Bank of India’s ATM is not working, why should we pay the fine for withdrawing money from the ATMs of other banks,” asks Dilip Kumar, a dalit farmer from Nawada, Bihar.

Hemant Kumar, a solider in the Indian Army and a native of Bundelkhand, demands the scrapping of the bank charges.

“Bank charges are bullying by the banks. There is no discussion on the decision of the bank charges. We don’t know who decides these charges. Nobody consults people,” says Krishnakant of the Paryavaran Surakhsha Samiti, Gujarat.

The Government must withdraw policy of Bank Charges so that the poor and students are not affected by it, says Preeti Baudh, a student of BSc II year in Bijapur , Jalaun, Uttar Pradesh.

I am a student and do not have a lot of money in my account. Whenever I need money, I ask my father for it. Due to the capping on the number of free transactions, we often end up paying the charges fine, says Priyanshu Jain, a BCom student.

Nikeeta, a student in Bundelkhand, appeals to the PM for scrapping all the bank charges.

Rukhsana Mansuri, a housewife from Jalaun Uttar Pradesh, says, “Every once in a while, SBI deducts money in the name of one charge or other. If we had money, we would have maintained minimum balance. I can’t comprehend what is happening.”

Bank charges is a policy to recover the losses made due to the NPAs, says Rajkumar bhai of Vargi Baandh Visthapit Sangh

Bank charges are stealing from the poor, because rich looted the banks: Amitabh Behar, Oxfam India

Priya Das, a research scholar from Madhupur, Jharkhand, says, “It is difficult for students to save money. Banks, in the name of maintenance and providing services, deducts it from our account.” She appeals to the government to stop this high-handedness of the banks”

“The government first forced people to open banks accounts in the name of Digital India, then started charging for the online transactions,” says Tilak Raj from the Bundelkhand legal Resource Centre, Jhansi.

“I support the campaign against bank charges and appeal the government to scrap them immediately”, says Rihana Mansuri From Bundelkhand Dalit Adhikar Manch (BDAM).

Brajpal, a small farmer from Bijapur, Bundelkhand, shares how the SBI has deducted Rs 50-100 as  various bank charges, which led his account balance to reduce from Rs 1248 to 748.

“The Bank charges from the poor to give It to the rich,” says Tarapada Pradhan, a Human Rights Activist from Odisha.

“The poor and middle-class like small traders, labourers etc., who have been included in the banking system by force have to pay the charges. This is unjust”, says Harsh Mander of the Centre of Equity Studies.

“The wealthiest one per cent in India holds the majority of the total national wealth. If we look at the non-performing assets of the banks, these one per cent people are responsible for them. Instead of recovering the loans from these borrowers, or tax them, the government introduced various bank charges,” says veteran activist, Shabnam Hashmi.

“In the last year and half, SBI has deducted over Rs 1000 from my account in the name of minimum balance and other banks charges,” says Faizan, a student of the Jamia Millia Islamia University.

The Bank’s policy of levying charges is wrong. We must together oppose this policy as whatever the service, they charge for it. From SMS alerts to transacting on the bank. These all are arbitrary charges, which we must not pay as it is our hard-earned money. It is not money for the banks. It is the money that we require for our daily upkeep and living,” says social activist Indu Prakash Singh

“Bank charges have created havoc in the lives of people. Where would they go for the safety of their money? These charges are being levied by the banks when the corporates have taken massive loans, of which over Rs 4.5 lakh crores of NPAs have already been waived off by the government,” says Ambarish Rai, National Convenor, the Right to Education Forum.

“The money that all of us deposit in the banks is given as loans to the corporates and others and is also used for the country’s development. However, interestingly, for depositing and withdrawing our money, getting a chequebook issued, withdrawing money from the ATM, and for all other transactions, we have to pay to the bank. So, in a way, the common citizens pay two-three times on the same money, even though the banks earn the profit by giving peoples’ money on loan. This injustice has to be stopped.,” says Apoorvanand, Professor, Delhi University.

Bank charges is a public loot which has to be immediately stopped, says Umesh Tiwari, Convenor, Roko, Toko, Thoko Krantikari Morcha.

“Policy of bank charges directly hurt poor, farmers, labourers, pensioners, students the most,” says Mujahid Nafees, Convener, Minority Coordination Committee, Gujarat.

“This government has continuously taken money out of the poor’s pocket… Whether it was demonetisation or the various charges on the bank services… everything is chargeable. We must resist this loot, especially that of the labour of the poor. These charges must be scrapped.,” says Dr Gauhar Raza, scientist, poet, social activist, and documentary filmmaker

“Banks charge us without informing people. We are often clueless about the charges,” says Anil Karne from the Bhu Adhikaar Abhiyaan, Madhya Pradesh.

“Bank charges adversely affects the poor, not the rich. The people whose meal depends on the earnings of the day, can’t save money in the bank,” says Mohammad Aamir Khan, writer and activist.

Women pensioners in the villages of Rewa suffer a lot due to bank charges, says Jagdeesh Yadav from the Humara Gram Adhikar Abhiyan, Rewa MP

“How can the people whose pension is Rs 2500 maintain Rs 2000 as minimum balance in a city like Delhi? Why can’t the banks charge the rich who can sustain just by the interest they get on the savings?,” asks Ashok from Satark Nagarik Sangathan who lives in Jagdamba Camp, Delhi

“I have a savings account at the Canara Bank. I do not know why the bank often deducts money,” asks Kusum Lata a social worker at the Motilal Nehru Camp, Delhi

“I have an account in the Punjab National Bank. We deposit at the bank to earn some interest, but the bank deducts it in the name of one charge or other,” says Vandana a social worker at the Jagdamba Camp, Delhi

“Banks have closed the accounts of farmers who can’t maintain a minimum balance in their accounts,” says Shah Alam founder of Awam Ka Cinema and Chambal Archives.

“The money that people like Nirav Modi, Vijay Mallaya, Mehul Choksi and others looted from the banks, is now being recovered in the form of bank charges — like minimum account balance, account statement, issuance of chequebook — from the savings account holders,” says Sumedha Baudh from the Rashtriya Dalit Mahila Andolan. She further said that in Sangam Vihar, her locality, the banks, in the name of maintenance of minimum account balance, deducted money from the accounts of children who were getting a fellowship from the government. She added that same has also happened with the pensioners.

“I have an account in the HDFC Bank, where the requirement of minimum balance is Rs 10,000. Since the last five-six months, I haven’t been able to maintain it. The penalty levied by the bank due to the non-maintenance of the minimum balance has pushed my account balance to Rs -4000,” says Rehan Tirmizi, a student at the Jamia Millia Islamia University, New Delhi.

“We keep money at banks thinking our money is safe. However, we have been feeling the opposite due to various charges introduced by banks in the name of maintenance, service etc. We don’t even know about these charges. It seems the poor are paying up for the people who looted our banks and ran away from India,” says Abrar Tabinda, social activist, poet and author of the Book Role of Muslims in Jharkhand Struggle.

“Banks should not charge money on the number of transactions and minimum account balance. This is robbing on poor and youngsters as they don’t have enough money to maintain a minimum balance,” says Pratap Singhvi Deura, a farmer from Udaipur, Rajasthan.

“Poor save a small amount of money and deposit at banks. Today banks are deducting this money in the name of non-maintenance of minimum balance and various other charges. Instead of promoting capitalists, the banks must promote poor, Dalits etc. They must be free of any political pressure, work for the people. They must also scrap various charges on services.,” says Subodh Ravidas, a Dalit activist from Nalanda Bihar.

“I am a student where can I keep Rs 3000? If I had it, why would I have taken the scholarship etc.? I had opened a zero balance account, today the banks are deducting money on this! Rs 11,500 crore, the money that banks that have together collected is ours. How long will they continue like this?,” says Rajesh Gautam, a law student at Lucknow University.

“My son has an account in the Punjab National Bank, Malviya Nagar. He often pays various bank charges. Recently, while updating his bank passbook at the bank, I noticed this and approached a official, who told me to keep Rs 3000 in the account and forget to avoid paying any penalty. We can’t maintain Rs 3000 as we get pension of Rs 500 every month. Should we spend this, and whatever little we earn, on maintaining the minimum balance or on our basic necessities?,” tells Suman, a resident of the Lal Gumbad Camp, Delhi.

“Banks were created so that people can deposit their money. However, the present system in which people’s money is being deducted without informing them is wrong. This system adversely impacts women, labourers, urban poor etc., who deposit whatever little they earn. Many of them don’t even know why their money is being deducted. So, for a person, whose monthly pension is Rs 2000, paying Rs 60 for availing a bank service is too much. The bank charges must be scrapped,” says Aditi from the Satark Nagarik Sangathan

“Banking system has become exploitative in India. The rule on the maintenance of minimum balance is bizarre because everyone would like to have a high bank balance. Those who can’t maintain minimum balance are the ones who do not have any money to keep in banks . Bank charges are tax on poverty. We must make this system of hidden charges more transparent and all the unjust charges must be scrapped,” says Shehla Rashid, leader of the Jammu Kashmir People’s Movement.

“The policy on bank charges is extremely shameful as the burden of the NPA created by the rich and corporates has fallen on the poor, students, muslims, dalit women and men, and other marginalised sections.,” says Dr Syeda Hameed, former member of the Planning Commission of India.

As a common man we don’t have any clue about the Bank charges being taken by Banks. People are distraught by bank charges: Mohan Kumar, social worker, Bihar.

“We deposit money at the bank thinking it would give us some interest but because of not maintaining above a certain amount banks levy penalty,” says Himmat Singh from the Bahujan Communist Party.

“All banks are deducting money in the name of penalty for the non-maintenance of minimum balance. In the last few years, PSBs have earned over 11 thousand crores. This money was of the from the marginalised section. We must resist this policy as how will the poor progress if they do not have any money in their account,” says Saddam Hussain, a banking professional from the Bundelkhand, Uttar Pradesh.