Launching an attack on the BJP-led central government, the Congress alleged that the economy is “sinking” but the government is consistently “shrinking” the savings and income of the common man by reducing the savings bank deposit and fixed deposit rates of public sector banks.

“The impact of interest rate cut decision on March 31 amounts to loss of Rs 19,000 crore income per year for the depositors,” Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala.

Surjewala said that the middle class and lower middle class are in ‘economic grief’ and termed the decision to reduce interest rates and discontinue RBI Bonds during lockdown as “brainless, heartless and shameless”.

“The interest rate cuts in PPF, KVP, NSC and other saving instruments further hit the already shrinking savings of approximately 30 crore depositors, who have deposited Rs 14 lakh crore in various savings schemes,” he said.

“The latest blow for middles class, farmers, pensioners and women is discontinuation of 7.75 per cent RBI bonds and further reduction of interest rates by SBI,” said Surjewala.

He further claimed that in the last two months, the total combined reduction in income of 30 crore depositors in saving schemes (PPF, NSC, KVP etc) and 44.51 crore account holders of State Bank of India (SBI) depositors is Rs 44,670 crore annually (from reduction in interest rates on savings scheme and reduction in SBI savings, fixed deposit interest rates).

“Rs 44,670 crore is 24 per cent of actual fiscal stimulus measures announced (Rs 186,650 crore) by the government. So around one-fourth of whatever is announced is already taken back by the government by reduction in interest rates. If we include other Public Sector Banks this figure will increase by at least 3 times,” he said.

The Congress demanded that interest rates on all small saving schemes, fixed deposits (FD) and savings bank deposits must be restored immediately to pre-March 12 level.