The master circular of the Reserve Bank of India dated 2 July 2012 states that it is imperative that the customers are made aware of the service charges upfront. But according to our analysis at least 20 banks do not disclose
During an ongoing research on bank charges, we discovered that banks are merrily flouting a directive by the Reserve Bank of India to disclose all charges on their websites. Not a single bank out of a sample of 20 (foreign, national and private banks), disclosed the complete list of basic banking service charges that a consumer would be charged during his day-to-day banking activities. Some of the charges found missing were charges for issue of a duplicate pass book, account closure, ECS return, cheque book reorder, annual fee for debit card, DD charges, NEFT, SMS alerts. Even minimum balance requirement and charges for non-maintenance of average monthly balance, which are basic charges applicable to savings bank accounts, were not available on a number of bank websites, including India’s biggest, State Bank of India and among the oldest foreign bank, Citibank.
Banks such as Yes Bank and Bank of India have not even disclosed charges such as number of free transactions at other bank ATMs in India and replacement of damaged debit cards. Over the past month, almost all banks have begun to charge for SMS alerts on transactions. Yet Standard Chartered, Union Bank of India, HSBC and IDBI Bank have not disclosed these charges on their websites.
RBI’s master circular expresses; “The need for displaying the charges in the notice board at the branch and advertising in newspapers, so as to disseminate information to the customers/public, in addition to display on the website”
Banks need to consider options of carrying out a one-time publicity of the service charges so that all customers are made aware of the charges, states the circular.
Yet, the majority of the banks failed to upload the service charges on their website leaving the customers guessing.
Moreover, when Moneylife mailed the concerned authorities at these banks requesting them to disclose the missing charges, the majority of them have yet not replied.
At a time when consumers are increasingly complaining about reasonableness of bank charges this just adds to the misery of the average customer.
Will the RBI still remain silent on such issues? In the past, Moneylife had raised various such issues such as Banks start charging money for SMS alerts, mobile banking , Cartelisation, not competition, decides banking service charges. Moneylife Foundation also conducted an Open House session with the Deputy Governor Dr KC Chakrabarty to discuss various issues including bank charges. You can watch it here
Holding that such promises by political parties under present law does not amount to corrupt practice, the apex court, said that election manifesto released by parties can be included in the Model Code of Conduct
Freebies promised by political parties in their election manifestos to lure voters shake the roots of free and fair polls, the Supreme Court observed today as it directed the Election Commission to frame guidelines for regulating contents of manifestos.
Holding that such promises by political parties under present law does not amount to corrupt practice, the apex court, however, said that election manifesto released by parties can be included in the Model Code of Conduct.
“Although, the law is obvious that the promises in the election manifesto cannot be construed as ‘corrupt practice’ under Section 123 of Representation of People's (RP) Act, the reality cannot be ruled out that distribution of freebies of any kind, undoubtedly, influences all people. It shakes the root of free and fair elections to a large degree,” a bench of justices P Sathasivam and Ranjan Gogoi said.
“Considering that there is no enactment that directly governs the contents of the election manifesto, we hereby direct the Election Commission to frame guidelines for the same in consultation with all the recognized political parties,” the bench said adding “a separate head for guidelines for election manifesto released by a political party can also be included in the Model Code of Conduct for the Guidance of Political Parties & Candidates”.
The judgement can have wide ramifications and can put a curb on political parties for promising different types of freebies like distributing laptops, TVs, grinders and mixers, electric fans, four gram gold thali and free foodgrain for wooing the voters. The election manifesto of parties will also come under the scrutiny of the Commission.
The bench said though the election manifesto is published before the code of conduct comes into force, the Commission can make an exception by bringing it within code of conduct.
“We are mindful of the fact that generally political parties release their election manifesto before the announcement of election date, in that scenario, strictly speaking, the Election Commission will not have the authority to regulate any act which is done before the announcement of the date.
“Nevertheless, an exception can be made in this regard as the purpose of election manifesto is directly associated with the election process,” the bench said.
The Food Security programme will be the biggest in the world with the government spending an estimated Rs125,000 crore annually on supply of about 62 million tonnes of rice, wheat and coarse cereals to 67% of the population
President Pranab Mukherjee on Friday signed the ordinance on Food Security to give the nation’s two-third population the right to get 5 kg of foodgrain every month at highly subsidised rates of Re1-Rs3 per kg.
Mukherjee cleared the ordinance, which was received by the President's Secretariat last night, ending speculation that he may not be in a rush to give his nod in the wake of strong reservations over its present form expressed by BJP, Left and some other major parties.
The Food Security programme will be the biggest in the world with the government spending an estimated Rs125,000 crore annually on supply of about 62 million tonnes of rice, wheat and coarse cereals to 67% of the population.
The Cabinet, which had last month deferred a decision on the issue following differences within, had approved promulgation of an ordinance to implement the Food Security Bill on Wednesday.
The Ordinance comes just weeks before the scheduled Monsoon session of Parliament and political parties demanding that the Food Security Bill be debated in both Houses before being passed.
Left parties attacked the government for taking the ordinance route saying the UPA-II has shown contempt for Parliament while BJP termed it an “election gimmick” saying the Congress was running away from a debate in the House.
Samajwadi Party, a key outside supporter of UPA, also sharply opposed promulgation of the ordinance saying it was undemocratic and the programme would derail the food economy.
The Ordinance will have to be approved by both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha within six months of promulgation.
The measure will guarantee 5 kg of rice, wheat and coarse cereals per month per person at a fixed price of Rs3, Rs2 and Re1, respectively,
However, about 2.43 crore poorest of the poor families covered under the Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) scheme under the PDS (Public Distribution System) would continue to get 35 kg of foodgrain per family per month but with legal entitlement.