SBI clarifies on report of unpaid refunds of Rs 164 crore from account holders of Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana | Personal Finance News

New Delhi: The State Bank of India (SBI) has clarified its stand on media reports that had stated that India’s largest public sector lender is yet to return Rs 164 crore of undue fee charged from the account holders of Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) towards digital payments during April 2017 and December 2019.

“On directions from the government, SBI has returned just about Rs 90 crore, thereby withholding the bigger chunk of at least Rs 164 crore with itself,” said the report prepared by IIT-Mumbai.

“There has been a news article on 22.11.2021 that SBI is not refunding charges recovered from the customers on digital transactions. We confirm that Bank is in full compliance with the Government and regulatory directives in this regard,” the bank responding on media claims stated.

“SBI has been at the forefront of the Financial Inclusion (FI) initiative of the Government of India with a FI customer base of ~13.76 crs. The services to these customers are provided by a strong network of 70,193 Bank Mitras. In the Bank Mitra or Business Correspondent channel, banking and micro insurance services are provided to the customers in an assisted mode in rural and semi urban areas,”  SBI further said.

It was reported that during April 2017 to September 2020, SBI had collected over Rs 254 crore towards at least 14 crore UPI/ RuPay transactions by charging Rs 17.70 per transactions on BSBDA (Basic Savings Bank Deposit Account) customers under the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY).

“SBI has been at the forefront of the Financial Inclusion (FI) initiative of the Government of India with a FI customer base of ~13.76 crs. The services to these customers are provided by a strong network of 70,193 Bank Mitras. In the Bank Mitra or Business Correspondent channel, banking and micro insurance services are provided to the customers in an assisted mode in rural and semi urban areas,” added SBI.

Since June 1, 2017, unlike any other bank in India, the report said, SBI charged Rs 17.70 for every debit transaction beyond four a month. Debit transaction means any withdrawal transaction that includes cash withdrawal, Unified Payments Interface (UPI), Immediate Payment Service (IMPS), National Electronic Funds Transfer (NEFT), Real-Time Gross Settlement (RTGS) pre-authorised standing instruction, cheque, etc.
This has adversely impacted the BSBDA customers of SBI who, on the call of the government and RBI, embraced digital means of financial transactions.

In adherence to the CBDT directive, as late as February 17, 2021, SBI initiated refund of Rs 17.70 for the UPI and RuPay debit card digital transactions to the BSBDA customers, the report prepared by Ashish Das, Professor of Statistics said.

Levying of charges on BSBDA is guided by September 2013 RBI guidelines. As per the direction these account holders are ‘allowed more than four withdrawals’ in a month, at the bank’s discretion provided the bank does not charge for the same. 

With PTI Inputs

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