Damodaran Committee submits report after HC threat to summon RBI governor
Moneylife Digital Team 07 July 2011

The RBI has promised to present the Damodaran Committee report to the Karnataka High Court even as Mr Damodaran has failed to provide his “transmittal” as the chairman of the Committee

Under the threat of the Reserve Bank of India's (RBI) governor being summoned by the Karnataka High Court, the apex bank will release the report by the M Damodaran committee on customer service—without the transmittance of Mr Damodaran himself.

Moneylife has been repeatedly reporting on how the report (despite being ready) was not being released by the Committee head, Mr Damodaran (please scroll down for the previous articles) for reasons best known to him.

Some members have informally informed Moneylife that the report was not released as it did not have transmittance of Mr Damodaran. But even Committee members were unaware, as also RBI officials, were completely in the dark as to why the release of the report was not being green-signalled by Mr Damodaran.

However, the report will now see the light of day thanks to an accidental happening. Apparently, while hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) challenging the penalty levied on account holders by banks for not maintaining a minimum balance in their accounts, the Karnataka High Court was being repeatedly told that all the banking service related issues would soon to reviewed, after the Damodaran Committee submits its report. After a few such hearings, the Court impatiently wanted to know when would the committee report be released. A division bench comprising Chief Justice JS Khehar and Justice HG Ramesh came down heavily on the apex bank for not submitting the report, even after the Court had granted many adjournments for submitting the same. In fact, the High Court warned that it would not hesitate to summon the governor of the RBI, if the report was not placed before the next date of hearing.

According to a report dated 6th July in The Hindu, the RBI has informed the Karnataka High Court that the report of the Damodaran Committee has finally been submitted on 4th July—sans Mr Damodaran's "transmittal". The Court has granted four weeks to the RBI to submit its report before it.

Until recently, it was reliably learnt that the report was not released because it did not have transmittance of Mr Damodaran who has been mysteriously reluctant to write the letter (transmittal) which would have formally meant handing over the independent committee's report to the RBI.  

Recently, while replying to a Right to Information (RTI) application which inquired about the status of the report, the RBI said that the report is "yet to be transmitted." (See: RBI flip-flops on customer service report ). The RTI Act was evoked by Mumbai-based activist Nagesh Kini, with the RBI, to find out the status of the report, as it was over a year now that several people have submitted their recommendations to the Committee—but there is no sign of the report being finalised.

In its reply to Mr Kini's RTI application, the central bank had said that a "timeframe of four months from the date of the first meeting of the committee was set for submission of the report." This was extended by three months. Considering this, the report should have been out in the public domain by now. It's been over 12 months since the first meeting was held on 15 June 2010, but the report has been released only on 4th July.

The Committee was constituted in June last year to review the system of customer service and grievance redressal by banks. It was expected to undertake a strict review of the existing system of the Banking Ombudsman Scheme and customer service in banks, including the approach, attitude and fair treatment to customers in the retail, small and pensioner segments.

Moneylife sent a message to Mr Damodaran, but no reply has been received till the time of writing this story.
 

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Comments
MAK
1 decade ago
All the service charges should have been nullified as most of the banks work is now being outsourced. There are hardly any services given by banks. At the most some honest workers do work, but there are very few, for that they may charge nominal charges only like Rs. 5 to Rs. 10.
Most banks do not provide minimum services e.g. Customers are NOT informed when their FD is matured!
All the while they automatically renew the FD at old terms. It mean they want their money but without providing any services.
When they deduct TDS they neither inform customers nor send TDS certificate to them. Thus customers are at loss if they do not show this in their Tax returns. Some of them at least get refund if it wrongly deducted.

Since rate of loans are going up, why banks are not giving better higher returns to Fixed depositors?
Banks are utilising depositor’s money to acquire Luxurious buildings and Palace like Glass building premises. Depositors and MF investors are taken for ride. There are hardly any returns compared to inflations.

RBI should come out with simple guidelines for all banks. The change in rate of interest should take effect only once in a year. In order to serve customers better they can recommend only two types of rates one for Savings say 6% and another for Fixed deposit rate say 12 to 16% rates. A lot of unnecessary work for staff and wasteful advertisements expenditure will be saved. Same can be used for rewarding the fixed depositors. Banks may be spending in Billions for mere advertisements for Rate of Interest Announcements! There is no need of this wasteful expenditure at all.
Banks have been rewarding equity share holders by handsome dividends, but have been neglecting fixed depositors.
If all the depositors withdraw their money at the same time can Banks run without their support?
Now Since Many Banks including SBI have recruited lakhs of employees in last few years. Now there is absolutely no shortage of employees. All the banks are regularly recruiting the employees periodically in large number. RBI should ask all banks and SBI to immediately stop giving any type of banking work to Outsource Companies. As it may lead to more frauds, scams, and losses for banks and to general public at large. It has already causing great inconvenience to its customers.
It is leading to corrupt practices, laziness and indifference attitudes towards customers.
Own staff can certainly give better service as expected by customers. But since Management have adopted such policies of outsourcing for their vested interests, its own staff is reluctant to do work.
Most of the managers are enjoying most of their time roaming in Luxury A/c Cars, Flying in different airlines with some excuses or others and staying in star hotels, all the cost of public money.
Banks are giving so less interest to its customers and wasting their money in various advertisements, sponsoring entertainments events etc.



MAK
1 decade ago
All the service charges should have been nullified as most of the banks work is being now outsourced.
There are hardly any services given by banks. At the most some honest workers do work, but there are a few. For they may charge nominal charges only like Rs. 5 to Rs. 10.
Most banks do not minimum services like Customers are NOT informed when their FD is matured!
ALL the while they automatically renew the FD at old terms.

Since rate of loans are going up, why banks are not giving better higher returns to Fixed depositors?
Banks are utilising depositor’s money to acquire Luxurious buildings and Palace like Glass building premises. Depositors and MF investors are taken for ride. There are hardly any returns compared to inflations.
RBI should come out with simple guidelines for all banks. Change rate of interest should take effect only once in a year. In order to serve customers better keep only two types of rates one for Savings say 6% and one for Fixed deposit rate say 12 to 16% rates. A lot of work for staff and wasteful advertisements expenditure will be saved. Same can be used for rewarding the fixed depositors.
Banks have been rewarding equity share holders by handsome dividends, but have been neglecting fixed depositors.
If all the depositors withdraw their money at the same time can Banks run without their support?
Now Since Many Banks including SBI has recruited lakhs of employees in last few years. RBI should ask all banks and SBI to immediately stop giving any type of banking work to Outsource Companies. As it may lead to more frauds, scams, and losses for banks and to general public at large. It has already causing great inconvenience to its customers.
It is leading to corrupt practices, laziness and indifference attitudes towards customers.
Own staff can certainly give better service as expected by customers. But since Management have adopted such policies of outsourcing for their vested interests, its own staff is reluctant to do work.
Most of the managers are enjoying most of their time roaming in Luxury A/c Cars, Flying in different airlines with some excuses or others and staying in star hotels, all the cost of public money.
Banks are giving so less interest to its customers and wasting their money in various advertisements, sponsoring entertainments events etc.
v subramanian
1 decade ago
It is surprising that none of the 24 hour business channels took any interest about the report. Only Moneylife has consistently followed the story. Kudos!
Sudhakar Kulkarni
1 decade ago
There is only talk about customer service in banks but no action.
C Jyoti
1 decade ago
After all, the chairman of the Damodaran Committee was in the IAS and hence are above law.
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