The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Banking Ombudsman (BO)-Northeast received 770 complaints from customers during 2013-14 on the services of various banks. In 1996-97, when the Scheme was introduced in the Northeast region, only 37 complaints were registered. The BO’s office reached out to customers through awareness campaigns and meetings in the past five years. Assam led in the utilisation of the Scheme with 608 cases, followed by Tripura with 42, Manipur 23, Meghalaya 21, Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland 18 each and Mizoram 10. Customers could complain to the BO through email, letter or the prescribed form for redress of grievances. The Scheme has been criticised as too narrow in scope and loaded against savers.
The number of free withdrawals from third-party ATMs (automated teller machines) is likely to come down from five per month to two for bank account-holders in cities. RBI has asked banks to continue with the existing facility for rural ATMs. If there is no home bank ATM nearby and customers have exhausted their free usage, they will have to pay up to Rs20 for a cash withdrawal from a third-party ATM.