Coronavirus crisis: Government waives ATM withdrawal, bank balance non-maintenance charges
In the wake of increasing COVID-19 cases across the country, the government has waived charges on withdrawals from other bank ATMs and the penalty on failing to maintain minimum bank balance for a period of three months. The steps, announced by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, come as part of an effort to keep people from visiting bank branches unless it's absolutely necessary. Here's more.
Bank work to be reduced to essential services
In a media briefing to address concerns regarding the economic impact of coronavirus, Sitharaman detailed several steps being taken to prevent overcrowding at banks to keep both public and bank staffers safe. As part of this, the FM announced the waiver of bank charges as well as the reduction of their services to basic tasks like deposits, withdrawals, cheque clearing, remittances, and government transactions.
Branch timings changed, digital transaction fee also waived
Along with this, several banks have also revised the working hours of their branches as well as announced waivers for digital transactions. Notably, HDFC Bank, HSBC, Yes Bank, and Federal Bank are among those revising working hours to 10 am to 2 pm, while Bank of Baroda and Axis Bank are those waiving the charges on transacting online.
Other changes announced by Sitharaman
In addition to the new guidelines for banks, which are in effect, Sitharaman also announced other important changes to keep people home. This includes extending the deadline to file Income Tax Return, GST Returns, link Aadhaar with PAN, settle tax disputes under Vivad Se Vishwas scheme to June 30. Small and big companies have also been exempted from paying late fees, penalties.
So far, COVID-19 has killed nearly 17,000 people worldwide
The new measures come as the outbreak of COVID-19 continues to wreak havoc around the world and cripple economies, including that of countries like Italy and Spain. So far, the disease has infected more than 3.8 lakh people in different countries and killed nearly 17,000. In India, the situation is still evolving with 500+ infections and 10 deaths.