People belonging to weaker sections in the country can also open zero balance accounts in foreign banks such as HSBC, Citibank and Standard Chartered Bank and avail free ATM-cum-debit card facility.
The Reserve Bank today said its 'Basic Savings Bank Deposit Account (BSBDA) guidelines are applicable to "all scheduled commercial banks in India, including foreign banks having branches in India".
Under the BSBDA scheme, any individual, including poor or those from weaker section of the society, can open zero balance account in any bank.
The RBI said there is no requirement for any initial deposit for opening such accounts.
As per the central bank's guidelines, the BSBDA should be considered a normal banking service available to all and the account should not have the requirement of keeping any minimum balance.
"Banks are advised not to impose restrictions like age and income criteria of the individual for opening BSBDA," RBI said.
The services available free in BSBDA scheme include deposit and withdrawal of cash; receipt/credit of money through electronic payment channels or by means of deposit / collection of cheques at bank branches as well as ATMs cards.
However, holders of 'Basic Savings Bank Deposit Account' will not be eligible for opening any other savings account in that bank.
If a customer has any other existing savings account in that bank, he or she will be required to close it within 30 days from the date of opening a BSBDA.
The aim of introducing BSBDA is part of the efforts of RBI for furthering financial inclusion objectives.
There are 43 foreign banks with over 330 branches operating in the country.