Northeast India's Diminishing hopes of better days – 'Acchay Din!', But When?

SHILLONG, May 12, 2017: With commoners stunned by the firing of centre’s economy booster technique in the form of State Bank of India’s new directives of deduction and service tax, most in Meghalaya believes that the public especially the middle and the lower middle class are once again being held to an unfair standard.

Unlike in the other democratic countries of the World where good governance and development is the mantra to garner public support and stay on top of the political game, wooing voters and support to all the government’s activities in the country is simple. It is a single phrase – “Achhay Din Ayengay” (Better Days will come).

This phrase works wonder in the country. Be it the cracker of the decade – ‘demonetisation,’ or the follow through digital transaction, the public endured it all lured by the promise of the magic candy- ‘Achhay Din’. However, the economic roller coaster ride initiated by the centre to curb corruption, black money and eradicate poverty backed by the promise of ‘Achhay Din,’ has gotten the public all dizzy who is everything but happy.

According to State Bank of India new notification, revising charges are applicable on various banking services. The changes will come into effect from June, 1st 2017 and include the proposal to charge users a sum of Rs 25 for every transaction conducted via an ATM. A Minimum Average Balance (MAB) of a stipulated amount is also to be maintained in relation to a specific geographical location, or else fine will be levied.

Apart from the additional charges on ATM transactions, the bank has notified that cash deposits via BC that are up to a sum of Rs 10,000, will be charged 0.25 per cent of the value along with the service tax. For sums up to Rs 2,000, the charges will amount to 2.50 per cent of the transaction value along with the applicable service taxes.

Reacting to the SBI directives, a grocery shop owner, Loraine Pyngrope said, “I have two sons studying in Dehradun and Tamil Nadu and I belong to a middle class family. We are constantly involved in financial transaction and this move will cost us dearly”.

“This is very wrong, especially for the middle class. Why should we be made to part of our hard earned money? Forget twenty five rupees, ten rupees per transaction is also going to cost us dearly,” said Pyngrope further justifying that after sending money to her children it is very difficult to maintain the minimum balance.

According to Julian Jyrwa, a student from Shillong studying in Bengaluru, this move will definitely have very severe implication on students out of the state. Many a time’s parents from families who have a lower income will not send a huge sum of money. When the month comes to and ends the remaining balance is very low and the MAB may be lower than the stipulated limit.
“These fines may be a burden for those looking to save up. In addition, service taxes may also be levied these may cause a bigger dent as well,” said Jyrwa

CSWO President Agnes Kharshiing  opined, “I feel being a public sector bank,  they have to explain to the public why they are having to deduct and since when and on whose decision”. She further added, “For the poor 3000/- is huge and for them nil balance should be allowed and no deductions whatsoever…”.

Former Khasi Student Union (KSU) President Daniel Khyriem observed, “It is harassment for the lower middle class. The Union government should not equate all in one equation”.

On the issue of students being at the receiving end of this move, Khyriem informed that he has earlier this year had discussion with SBI officials who told them that the students can maintain their zero account balance without any fine.

TNT News

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