Skip to main content

1.86 lakh sign petition: Bank account portability an "effective antidote" to Indian banks' restrictive practices

By Our Representative
A whopping 1.85 lakh plus people have signed a petition floated by well-known columnist-activist Sucheta Dalal of the Moneylife Foundation asking Reserve Bank of India (RBI) governor Urjit Patel to intervene in what it calls “unfair treatment that bank customers suffer in the form of frequent, arbitrary and one-sided increase in banking charges.”
Calling it a “consensus view of a group of knowledgeable consumer activists, policy watchers, bankers, and trade unions”, the petition seeks “urgent policy changes to ensure that banks treat bank customers fairly”, contending, banks are refusing to “automatically pass on contractual benefits such as lower interest to those with floating rate home loans” to the consumers.
Those who have floated the petition include Dhirendra Kumar of the Foundation Value Research; Abhay Datar of the Mumbai Grahak Panchayat; Sunil Bhandare of the All India Bank Depositors Association; CH Venktatachalam, General Secretary, All India Bank Employees Association; Dolphy D’souza, convener, Police Reforms Watch; and Gautam Mody, General Secretary, New Trade Union Initiative.
Accusing the banks of “customer-unfriendly practices”, the petition regrets, the RBI has “remained silent on several anti-depositor actions of banks”, adding, “The Banking Ombudsman's rulings also tend to side with banks, making no attempt to observe the pattern of complaints which would amply bring out rampant mis-selling of insurance and wealth management products.”
The petition underlines, following “increased use of digital payments” post- demonetization, “it is necessary to have in place a mechanism or system to protect customers from unauthorized banking transactions”, adding, “A master circular/notification by RBI on limiting liability in an unauthorized banking transaction will make a huge impact on protecting customers from frauds.”
Wanting “effective portability of bank accounts” as a “good anti-dote to several restrictive practices followed by the banks”, the petition says, “This has been successfully implemented in the telecom sector and helped consumers.”
It regrets, “No practical portability option exists at present due to standing instructions for both incomes (pensions, annuities, dividends, interests) and expenses (utilities etc.) and the difficulties associated with changing those standing instructions.” It adds, “Portability of loan exists on paper, but has to be made easier and seamless to execute without imposing fiscal and non-fiscal burden on the consumer.”
Referring to the the Prime Minister’s Awas Yojana which provides interest subsidy to loan, the petition says, lenders are being allowed to “overcharge for such loans” nullifying the advantages of the “subsidy provided from taxpayers’ funds.”
Insisting that “banks cannot have one-sided terms and conditions in their agreements with consumers”, the petition says, “One-sided loan agreements with details buried in the fine print are bleeding customers. RBI, in its communication, must be specific about barring the levy of unfair charges otherwise bankers take undue advantage and fleece consumers.” The petition seeks a “basic model agreement must be prescribed by the RBI to limit banks from harming customers.”
Wanting that “frequent increase in charges” should be immediately stopped, the petition gives the example of HDFC Bank which has “started levying charges for an invite only programme, which unethically assumes that the customer is already in and willing to pay for it”, adding, “The levy is stopped only when the consumer notices it and calls the bank to protest.”
Pointing out that the RBI issued a Charter of Customer Rights on December 3, 2014 recognising “basic rights” of bank customers, asking banks to adapt and implement them, the petition calls the charter a “toothless statement, saying, “Three years later, the RBI has not fixed timeframes for grievance redressal nor announced penalties for failure to treat consumers fairly, despite repeated appeals by consumer groups.”

Comments

ALSO READ

India failing to dictate diplomatic preferences of Nepal, Bhutan, is unfairly blaming Beijing: Chinese daily

By Our Representative
In a sharply-worded editorial, a top Chinese media outfit, described by BBC as state-run, has said, commenting on India's foreign relations with its neighbours, that "speculation and suspicion" is "certainly not diplomacy". Published in "China Daily", the largest circulating English Monday-to-Saturday newspaper with branches across the world, the editorial notes (September 20) that "several recent events" in Nepal and Bhutan, are "gnawing worrywarts in New Delhi".
The editorial -- which comes close on the heels of a sharp critique of India's foreign policy in a state-supported Russian media outfit, Sputnik International, calling India's anti-Pak diplomacy as having "gone awry" following Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "half-baked" push for anti-terror drill down "others' throat" -- says, the " worrywarts" include "Nepalese troops taking part in a joint…

Accused of being RSS plant, Modi man, Hyderabad Urdu varsity chancellor asks President to probe "irregularities"

Counterview Desk
Refused entry in the Maulana Azad National Urdu University (MANUU), the central university's newly appointed chancellor Firoz Bakht Ahmed, who claims to be grand nephew of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, has, in a letter to the President of India, said that MANUU vice-chancellor (V-C) Dr Aslam Parvaiz has accused him of being an RSS plant and a Modi man, whose sole aim is to "interfere in the working of the university".

Ahmedabad, GIFT, Adani city get 1.68 lakh acre ft Narmada water; Gujarat's rural areas just 4.27 AF: Letter to CM

Counterview Desk
Well-known farmer rights leader Sagar Rabari, in an open letter to Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani, has demanded a transparent account of Narmada water, saying, while he has received a "routine reply" from him to his earlier, the data emerging from his RTI application show huge quantity of water being directed to Ahmedabad, the 10 km stretch of Sabarmati for the Ahmedabad riverfront, and nearby elite urban areas, including the Adanis' Shantigram township and GIFT City.

17 lakh Jharkhand elderly, widows, differently abled do not receive pension: Public hearing told, aadhaar is a hurdle

By Our Representative
Hundreds of elderly, widows, single women and differently-abled persons from different districts of Jharkhand gathered near the Raj Bhavan in Ranchi for a public hearing organized by the Jharkhand Right to Food Campaign and Pension Parishad demanding the right to universal social security pensions ahead of World Elderly Day on October 1.

Ethnocide in Caribbean island filmed following award winning docufilm on Jamaica's anti-colonial Indian roots

International awards winner for Best Feature Documentary Linda Aïnouche for “Dreadlocks Story” (2014), which shows how Indians are entangled in the Jamaican society, and how Hinduism was a source of inspiration for the Rastafari movement, is all set to release her new documentary, “Marooned in the Caribbean”, which aims at documenting the awful desolating living conditions that Raizal people, the native inhabitants of San Andres Archipelago, endure.
Sons of slaves, these islanders have fallen prey to what the Colombian government calls Colombianization. “It’s a process”, according to her, “which kills the Raizal culture; it’s the killing of the Raizal soul. Colombianization subjugates Afro-descendants of San Andres to an ethnocide.”

Explorer, director and producer, Linda Aïnouche writes exclusively for Counterview: ***
Nobody escapes from blood and thunder in Colombia, and definitely not in the archipelago of San Andres, situated closer to Managua and Kingston than Bogota. The Raizal p…

India to deport Rohingya refugees, as the world moves towards prosecuting Myanmar for genocide

By Tapan Bose*
Seven Rohingya Muslims refugees who were held at a detention centre in Assam since 2012 will be handed over to Myanmar. The Supreme Court of India has refused to stop their deportation. The new Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gagoi said, "We are not inclined to interfere on the decision taken".

An elite Kutir set up by Modi far from the "madding" crowd: This Gandhi museum is formal, unapproachable

By Rajiv Shah
Have you ever heard of a Gandhi museum, sough to be projected as the “largest” on the Mahatma, yet totally inaccessible, in sharp contrast to Ahmedabad’s humble, approachable and unassuming Gandhi Ashram on the banks of Sabarmati, set up by the Mahatma during the heydays of the freedom movement? It exists about 30 kilometres away, its idea was conceived by none other than a person who has today become even more inaccessible than he ever was: Narendra Modi, India's Prime Minister.

History less known: Kasturba's role as an independent woman and a freedom fighter in her own right

By Nandini Oza*
Even the most deserving of women do not find a place that equals their worth in history. Kasturba is one such woman whose contribution to India’s struggle for freedom has been exemplary, and yet, it has not received the recognition it deserves. Kastur Makhanji Kapadia was born in the year 1869, the same year and in the same town of Porbandar in Gujarat as Gandhiji. In fact she was older than Gandhiji by a few months.

Hyderabad-based Urdu university "bars" entry of its new chancellor, who had "initiated" reforms in institute

Counterview Desk
In an unusual controversy, Aslam Parvaiz, vice-chancellor of of the Hyderabad-based Maulana Azad National Urdu University (MANUU) has restricted the entry of its newly appointed Chancellor, Firoz Bakht Ahmed, allegedly because he was trying to initiate reforms, including setting up of a Maulana Azad Center for Composite Culture and Progressive Studies, Model Madrasa, Center for Empowerment of Muslim Women, Course for the Development of Legal Vocabulary and Legal Consciousness in Urdu, and so on.

Poor response to tenders for Gujarat's bid for the world's tallest statue, no international firm shows interest

By Our Representative
The Gujarat government’s claim that its decision to build the world’s highest statue in the world, in the memory of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, would attract “tremendous” response top international construction companies, has gone phut. The state government floated international tenders in August to build the statue, which is slated to be 182-metres high. Despite the “international” character of the tenders and big claims, well-informed Sachivalaya sources close to Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi say, “not one international firm has come up to offer to carry out the construction activity.”