THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: As uncertainty continues over the future of cooperative banking sector in the state, close to Rs 500 crore has found its way to various nationalised and private banks. Sources told Express that a confidential estimate by the government found around Rs 500 crore of Primary Agricultural Cooperative Societies (PACS) and District Cooperative Banks (DCBs) were transferred to scheduled and private banks post the demonetisation drive.
The actual amount could be bigger as old currency constituted the Rs 500 crore deposited in nationalised and private banks. Customer deposit erosion is also yet to be assessed. As on November 16, DCBs and PACS had old currency stocks amounting to Rs 1453.94 cr and Rs 665.37 crore respectively. Several PACS in the state have channeled huge amounts from their deposits in DCBs to current accounts in nationalised/ private banks. “The funds transferred through RTGS help us to meet immediate requirements.
These banks allow us to withdraw big amounts from current accounts whereas the DCB has a cap of Rs 50,000 a week,” said a PACS president. Representatives of the Malanadu Service Cooperative Bank in Idukki said they deposited old notes worth around Rs 80 lakh in SBT. “Banking restrictions and rumours have created panic among customers who demand immediate withdrawals,” said Kerala Cooperative Bank Employees Front general secretary Charles Antony.
“Private banks like ICICI offer SB accounts for PACS with 4.50 pc interest while DCBs allow only current deposits with less interest. They also offer better facilities like online RTGS provision from our premises,” he said. Cooperation minister Kadakampally Surendran said the banking restrictions over PACS were intended to help private banks and ailing nationalised banks. “The Centre wants the PACS funds to flow to these banks. Frantic customers force PACS to allow fund transfers,” he said. He said the government was committed to honour its promise given to depositors in PACS. “The government is giving full guarantee to the deposits,” he added.