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Amid a public outcry in Kerala over a State Bank of India (SBI) announcement levying charges on ATM cash withdrawals from June 1, the largest public lender on Thursday clarified that the charge of Rs 25 is applicable only for withdrawals from SBI Buddy through ATMs.
The bank said that the number of free withdrawals from ATMs remained unchanged.
Jan-Dhan account holders with the SBI can avail of four free withdrawals in a month from ATMs.
Normal savings bank accounts holders will continue to get eight free ATM transactions (five from SBI ATMs plus three from other bank ATMs) in metros and 10 free transactions in non-metros (five from SBI ATMs plus five from other bank ATMs).
Earlier in the day, Kerala Finance Minister Thomas Issac told the media that the only reason he could see for this "mad" new rule was that the SBI was faced with mounting non-performing assets (NPAs) to the tune of Rs 1.67 lakh crore.
"This is height of madness and irresponsibility. It would be interesting to find out the list of NPAs of the SBI... One wouldn't be surprised if the majority (of defaulters) are found to be corporates."
"Just take a look at their (SBI) profits, it has dramatically come down. The charges have been levied to bring down their losses. This is something that even private sector banks would not dare think of doing," said Issac.
CPI-M's Lok Sabha member M.B. Rajesh said, "This is outrageous and the central government is cheating the people. Ever since the demonetisation began, the Centre has been bullying people. This is going to be taken up, both within and out of Parliament very strongly."
The move was also slammed by CPI-M Lok Sabha member M.B. Rajesh and popular film personality Shobi Thilakan, who called it an "anti-people policy of the Centre".