Ground Report | New Delhi: Jan Dhan account holders; State Bank of India (SBI) hasn’t returned the unreasonable charges of Rs 164 crore collected from Pradhan Mantri Jan-Dhan Yojana account holders for digital payments from April, 2017 to December 2019.
According to a report prepared by the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-Mumbai on the Jan-Dhan Account Scheme, only Rs 90 crore has been returned to the account holders so far even after receiving instructions from the government to refund the fee amount. An amount of Rs 164 crore has not been refunded yet.
SBI collected a total of over Rs 254 crore for UPI and RuPay transactions from ordinary savings accounts opened under Jan Dhan Yojana during April, 2017 to September 2020. In this, the bank had charged more than Rs 17.70 per transaction. account holders.
However, the fact remains that SBI, unlike any other bank, has started charging fees for digital transactions by Jan Dhan account holders. The bank was charging Rs 17.70 per transaction for more than four withdrawals in a month.
This move of SBI has adversely affected the Jan Dhan account holders doing digital transactions on the call of the government. The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) on August 30, 2020 had issued an advisory to banks to refund the charges collected from account holders with effect from January 1, 2020. Further, it was also stated that no such fee should be charged with effect from January 1, 2020. Future.
Following this directive, SBI started the process of refunding the fees charged for digital transactions from Jan-Dhan account holders on February 17, 2021. Professor of Statistics Ashish Das, who prepared the report, says that Rs 164 crore is yet to be returned to these account holders.
According to the Times of India, Ashish Das said that SBI had charged Rs 17.70 per transaction during June 2017 to December 2019 and Rs 5.90 per transaction in April-May 2017. “During approximately 33 months from April 2017 to December 2019, SBI collected over Rs 164 crore from charges levied on at least 9 crore UPI and RuPay debit card digital transactions made by BSBDA (Basic Savings Bank Deposit Account) customers. did,” he said. 177 crores were collected between Rs. SBI has still not refunded this amount of more than Rs 164 crore, which has been collected improperly by levying charges on BSBDA customers.
“There may be an operational difficulty for the refund, but it has been demonstrated that it can be done,” Das said. SBI has already given refunds for transactions during the period of six months ending September 2020. He said these charges were levied on the Jan Dhan Yojana account, meant for the members of the most vulnerable section of the society and to be free from all charges.
According to a banker, now the accounts of Jan Dhan Yojana are not as unprofitable as before, because the minimum balance in these accounts has increased. Also, banks are servicing most of these accounts through Business Correspondents (BCs) to keep costs down. Banks pay a fee to the BC for every transaction enabled by them but it is not passed on to the customer. Whereas outsourcing costs banks less.
Lenders have said that there are instances where agents of BCs transact with customers and withdraw the same money multiple times to inflate charges, he said.