State Bank of India's decision to reintroduce minimum balance requirement for the saving accounts will not be applicable to the Prime Minister's Jan-Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) accounts or to the 'Basic Savings Bank' accounts, according to reports.
Pradhan Mantri Jan-Dhan Yojana is India's National Mission for Financial Inclusion to ensure access to financial services, namely banking savings & deposit accounts, remittance, credit, insurance, pension in an affordable manner.
This financial inclusion campaign was launched by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 28 August 2014. As on March 1, 2017, at least 22.30 crore accounts have been opened by Public Sector Banks under this mission.
The Times of India reported that SBI chief Arundhati Bhattacharya has clarified that minimum balance requirement does not apply to the PMJDY accounts.
"This does not apply to any financial inclusion account. All banks as far as we are aware already have such charges," The TOI quoted Bhattacharya as saying.
Once the revised charges are in force, SBI account holders will have to maintain the monthly balance or else they will invite a penalty ranging from Rs 20 (rural branches) to Rs 100 in (metro cities).
In metropolitan areas, there will be a charge of Rs 100 plus service tax, if the balance falls below 75 per cent of the MAB of Rs 5,000. If the shortfall is 50 per cent or less of the MAB, then the bank will charge Rs 50 plus service tax.
Currently, monthly average balance for a savings bank account is Rs 500 without facility of cheque book and Rs 1,000 with cheque book across the country.
SBI has also imposed restrictions on withdrawals of cash from its branches as well as ATMs. However, the government has asked SBI to reconsider it's decision to impose a penalty on non-maintenance of minimum balance in accounts from April 1 onwards.
The government also urged SBI and other lenders, including private sector banks to "reconsider the charges on cash transactions and ATM withdrawals above a certain limit".
Some private banks, like HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank and Axis Bank, have started charging a minimum amount of Rs 150 per transaction for cash deposits and withdrawals beyond four free transactions in a month.