Sanjay Nirupam, Sucheta Dalal Launch ‘Tweet Morcha’ Against Banks
The Congress leader and the journo say ‘Tweet Morcha’ is a citizens’ campaign to protest unfair bank charges.
Mumbai-based Congress leader Sanjay Nirupam and veteran journalist Sucheta Dalal, on 4 July, launched what they called a ‘Tweet Morcha’, a citizens’ campaign to protest the charges that India’s banks levy on myriad services.
The cheapest funds that banks have access to, according to Dalal who is also the trustee of non-governmental organisation Moneylife Foundation, are savings and current account deposits. Depositors do not get an interest payment on current account deposits, while the interest paid on savings bank deposits range between 4 and 6 percent, with most banks offering the former.
As a result, the spread that banks enjoy, that is, the difference between the interest they pay on deposits and the rate they charge on loans, is as much as 6 percent in many cases, she said.
The social media campaign, with the hashtag ‘BankSeBachao’ was addressed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Twitter handle, and was aimed at drawing his attention to the unfair charges that banks are levying on customers, said Nirupam in an interview with BloombergQuint.
In March, consumer rights groups raised concerns after State Bank of India, India’s largest bank, decided to reduce the number of free cash deposits and reintroduce a minimum balance requirement for all savings accounts.
SBI’s move came shortly after private sector bank HDFC Bank raised charges on cash transactions at its branches in February.
At the time, Dalal launched an online petition on Change.org, asking the governor of the Reserve Bank of India to “stop banks fleecing us depositors”. So far, the petition has gotten over 2.14 lakh supporters, among whom are representatives of India’s largest bank unions.
Dalal is hoping that the social media campaign will be able to drum up enough public support to get the attention of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and his ruling government. If all else fails, a public interest litigation may be on the cards, Dalal said.
(This article was originally published in BloombergQuint)
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