Cash can be withdrawn from any ATM by debit card holders without any fee for the next 3 months, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman said today while announcing a number of relief measures amid the crisis triggered by coronavirus. Also, there will be no minimum balance requirement and the bank charges will also be lowered, the minister said.
The minister's address today - which fell short of the expected big ticket economic package - also extended the deadline for filing deadline for filing income tax returns for the financial year 2018-19 and the Goods and Services Tax.
The relief from minimum balance in savings accounts is expected to come as a reprieve for many with small and medium businesses. These have been hugely hit with the curfews and lockdowns announced practically in every state and there are concerns that huge losses and job cuts are just around the corner.
The relief from extra fee for cash withdrawal from ATMS, will take the pressure off people to travel a long distance amid lockdowns and curfews.
According to existing rules, banks provide a certain number of transactions free of cost every month to the customer. The number of such transactions varies, depending on whether the ATM is part of the home bank's ATM, and its location. Most banks offer five free transactions in its own ATMs located in metro cities.
The minister also assured that the government is prepping the financial package and that it would come 'sooner rather than later". The minister is heading a task force that's expected to analyse the effects of COVID-19 and suggest a way forward.