GUWAHATI, Jan 17: Many parents are facing hardship as majority of banks, both public & private sector ones, are allegedly refusing to open zero balance accounts for school students.
"The bank is simply harassing me from the very beginning. In the months of November and December, 2020 I had submitted documents like birth certificate and even Aadhaar cards as demanded by the bank. Now the bank officials are saying that opening zero balance accounts will not be possible as it goes against the existing banking rules. They have asked me to deposit at least Rs 1,000 to open the account," Raju Ahmed, a daily wage earner in the Bhangagarh area in the city said.
Ahmed is not alone. Many parents are facing the same harrowing time after the State Government instructed that all students from Class I to XII studying in government schools would have to open zero balance bank accounts. Dispur's move claims to train children on management of financial skills and inculcating good financial habits on savings.
"Banks are simply refusing to follow Dispur's instructions. I told a bank manager that the government has told parents to open zero balance accounts. But the manager laughed at me and said there is no concept of zero balance account," Raktim Barua, a government employee whose son is studying in a city school said.
Barua said he has opened an account for his son by depositing Rs 1,000 in the bank. He, however, said all parents are not fortunate like him. "How could a poor wage earner spend money to open bank accounts for his children?" Barua said.
With many parents in government schools are not being able to open accounts Dispur has now shifted its focus and asked private schools to open bank accounts for their students.
"This is a game plan of the present governments in Delhi and Dispur to revive the banking sector by pumping money through opening of bank accounts. Once rich and middle class parents open accounts they will be tempted by banks to invest more for future of their children. Parents normally save more for their children," Nirupama Devi, mother of a 12-year-old school-going daughter said.
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