Thiruvananthapuram: The minimum balance norms of the banks have started to hit the government's welfare schemes. Hameeda Beevi, a coir worker from Alappuzha, lost her welfare pension after the bank levied the minimum balance penalty from her.
Hameeda Beevi was paid Rs 3,300 by the government towards the coir workers' welfare pension in December. The bank, in which the money was deposited, snatched most of it towards penalty and what was left for her was just Rs 250.
Finance Minister Dr Thomas Issac revealed the plight of Hameeda Beevi, a native of Mannanchery in Alappuzha, through a Facebook post. In December, she got Rs 3300. But the bank fined her Rs 3,050 for not keeping the minimum balance of Rs 1000 in the previous months.
The minimum balance menace is posing hurdles for all the government welfare schemes. If this situation continues, the Finance Ministry has decided to end the distribution of pensions and other privileges through bank accounts.
The central government's Direct Benefit Transfer Scheme (DBT) was implemented with aim to distribute the benefits of welfare schemes directly to the beneficiery. Due to the minimum balance rule, the significance of DBT has been diluted.
Thomas Issac said that not only the pensioners, but those who got small amounts of scholarships are also affected by this. Many does not know that the money has been taken by the bank and blame it on the government, he added. The government had called upon the bank authorities and they had assured that fine will not be collected from such accounts, he alleged.
“This action by the banks are against the people. The fine charged should be repaid. The government will notify the State Level Bankers Committee. Banks that continue with the inhumane actions will be ditched from pension distribution,” Thomas Issac said.
Some instances are also there when the bank charged the customer for closing a bank account.