An RTI report has revealed that Punjab National Bank (PNB) has recovered Rs278.66 crore as penalty in the financial year 2018-19 from the poor account holders for not maintaining the minimum balance.

Chandrashekhar Gaur an RTI activist in Madhya Pradesh’s Neemuch district, sought information from the PNB on the amount recovered from the account holders in the last two financial years for not maintaining a minimum balance in savings and current account.

This amount has been recovered from about 1 crore 27 lakh customers across the country. According to a PNB data, the penalty amount of Rs278.66 crore is 32 per cent more than the amount recovered in the last financial year (2017-18).

The bank has recovered a total of Rs226.36 crore from Rs1,22,53,756 savings accounts and Rs52.30 crore from fine accounts of Rs5,37,692 current accounts during the financial year 2018-19.

Gaur said, “The penalty charged by a bank for not keeping the minimum amount in the accounts is a penalty on poverty. “It should be reviewed immediately in the larger public interest and recovery of all such penalty charges should be stopped with immediate effect,” he added.