It is disturbing to note that the Indian Banks’ Association has proposed charging the customers for withdrawal of money from their ATMs. The reason adduced for this proposal is the complaint by banks of rising costs. Earlier, cheque books were issued free of cost. That service has been dispensed with and the banks charge for the issue of cheque books. The Reserve Bank of India Deputy Governor KC Chakrabarty has deplored the move and dubbed it as ‘ridiculous’ and ‘illogical’. He has rightly said so. It appears banks are nowadays ceasing to be customer-friendly. Flaying the move by RBI Deputy Governor is not enough. In fact, banks should be directed to maintain the status quo in the matter. When the customers visit banks, they are advised to use the ATM. And the use of ATM is not only for the benefit of customers but also to the benefit of banks, since a good chunk of cheque leaves are saved, the burden of manual work for the bank staff is substantially reduced and overcrowding in the bank premises is avoided, paving the way for smooth functioning of work. Banks should harness their energy to render better and improved services to the general public rather than charging for ATM use.
Green regulator’s role
This is with reference to the editorial “Making green neutral” (FE, January 8). The Supreme Court's order to set up a neutral green regulator was a much-needed step in the long-term interests of the economy. Several key projects have been hanging fire due to environmental clearances, most notably POSCO. Hopefully, such a step would also end the arbitrary clearances given by state governments as per their will, thus leading to severe ecological damage. Case in point is Haryana which had recently sought to reduce the forest cover in the state to mop up funds without a second thought for the environment. Independent audits will also weed out biased judgements. This regulator ought to promote effective utilisation of space and not encroach upon the sparse agricultural land. The green regulator's role is much more than what appears on the surface. However, it is time to wait and watch if the new regulator is able to take calls appropriate for the country.