New Delhi - The latest cut in savings bank interest rates by state-run State Bank of India (SBI) comes in the context of lower inflation and lending rates, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said on August 3.
"When lending rates go down, the borrowing rates will obviously come down. These are all inter-connected," Jaitley said in the Rajya Sabha during Zero Hour in reply to a question on the issue by Derek O'Brien of the Trinamool Congress.
"Please remember, you are talking about a time when inflation was 10-11%. The lending rates were high and sluggishness was setting in because of that," he said referring to an earlier period of higher interest on savings bank deposits.
State-run State Bank of India (SBI) on July 31 announced a 50 basis points (bps) cut in the interest rates for savings accounts having deposits below Rs 1 crore. The revised interest rate for savings accounts having up to Rs 1 crore deposit now stands at 3.5% while those having above Rs 1 crore balance in their savings accounts will continue to enjoy the 4% interest rate.
"This is precisely why to keep the fixed deposits at the rate at which it was, because those are not rates which have been touched, those are the rates which affect retired and pensioners the most," the Finance Minister said.
"And this government to take care of those senior citizens, for first time has brought in a scheme of 8% guaranteed which will not change as far as senior citizens pension is concerned."
"The cumulative effect of that interest is 8.3%. I have launched this scheme and the PM had announced it on December 31. The LIC is administering the scheme," he added.
Earlier on August 3, replying to the debate on the Banking Regulation (Amendment) Bill, 2017, Jaitley said this pension scheme for senior citizens run by the Life Insurance Corporation will dissuade people from putting their savings in chit funds.