Parents asked to deposit a minimum of Rs.500 for accounts to which government scholarships are credited

Despite the administration promising to facilitate opening of no-frills (zero balance) bank accounts to enable transfer of student scholarships, the ground reality is quite different. Hundreds of parents who approached the banks are being asked to deposit a minimum balance to open a new account.

At the State Bank of Hyderabad (SBH) branch at Barkas, parents were in for a shock when the bank staff asked them to deposit a minimum of Rs. 500 for opening the account.

“How can they ask us to deposit money when there are clear instructions from the government in this regard,” Sarwar, an auto driver wondered.

Unable to pay the money, the parents had local leaders roped in to represent their case to the bank management, only to be told that they have not received any such instructions from their head offices.

Social activists point out that most banks avoid No-Frills Accounts, terming them as additional burden.

“It was a similar case last year too,” S. Q. Masood, a social activist, complained.

The Andhra Pradesh State Minority Finance Corporation (APSMFC) disburses the post and pre-matric scholarships offered by Central and State governments by crediting the amount into the bank accounts of students to avoid malpractice.

Last academic year (2012- 13), 42,839 students had applied for the pre-matric scholarship and 47,439 students applied for post-matric scholarship. Students get between Rs. 600 and Rs. 800 for pre-matric scholarship if they apply to the State government scheme and Rs. 1,000 or Rs. 5,000 through the Central scheme.

The scholarship amount for post-matric scholarships depends on the fee structure of the college. Students are entitled to anywhere between Rs. 2,000 and Rs. 30,000 for an academic year, APSMFC officials explained.

Hyderabad revenue district lead bank manager K. V. Bharath Kumar admitted that a few complaints had been received in this regard and that they were being verified.

He further said that if No- Frills accounts were not operational continuously for six months they become in-operational or closed.

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