RBI panel on customer services says board must discuss top complaints and monitor implementation of policy for customer care
The Damodaran Committee on bank customer services has recommended active involvement of the boards of banks to guarantee customer satisfaction. "Commitment to hassle-free service for customers under the oversight of the bank's board is necessary to ensure maximum customer satisfaction. Customer centricity should be the purpose of the existence of the bank," the committee set up by the Reserve Bank of India has said in its report which was published on Wednesday.
The committee has said that "customer service and grievance redressal should be included as a mandatory parameter in the performance appraisal report of all employees."
Explaining the role of the board of directors in implementing customer service guidelines, the committee said, "The root cause analysis of the top five types of complaints in a quarter should be placed before the Customer Service Committee of the Board held in the subsequent quarter. A brief note on the discussions held on the same should be placed before the Board in its subsequent meeting. The actionable points that emanate out of such deliberations should be closed only after placing the compliance status in the subsequent meetings of the Customer Service Committee or Board (as the case may be)."
The report suggested that an agenda on the level of implementation of the Bank's Code of Commitments to Customers and an overview on the grievance redressal mechanism in the bank should be placed before the bank every quarter before the Customer Service Committee.
The committee said that every board should ensure they have comprehensive policies for customer acceptance, care and severance. "The bank policies should clearly lay out its approach to customer care, taking into account the geographic spread of its branches, segments of customers, needs of special sections like senior citizens, widows, physically challenged persons, etc," the committee said in its report.
Such a policy, the committee said, "must also clearly define and distinguish the features for different products and services and must indicate the target customer group. It should show sensitivity for small customers by ensuring that the pricing (bank charges) does not act as a deterrent for the small person to do banking transactions."
Emphasising on 'customer centricity', the committee recommended that bank boards should evolve human resources policies which will "recruit for attitude and train for skills." It pointed out that policy "should be framed to ensure that the prescribed response time for every type of grievance should be approved by an official not below the rank of the top management of the bank."
The report also suggested that "Branch Level Customer Committee meetings may be replaced with a meeting of customers of all banks of that area (say district-wise, block-wise) and be held in the presence of representatives of banks at periodic intervals (monthly/quarterly). The responsibility of organising such meetings may be entrusted to eminent consumer organisations in the region and expenses of such meetings can be shared by the bankers of that jurisdiction. The proceedings of the meetings should be recorded (CCTV) for the purpose of review of the same in higher fora."
Exchanges would have to implement the order by 2nd December which would be applicable to trading in the cash and derivative segments. The move follows complaints from investors against brokers about unauthorised trading in their accounts
Mumbai: Market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has asked stock exchanges to alert investors about details of their transactions every day through SMSes and e-mail, a move to check unauthorised trading by brokers, reports PTI.
"Stock exchanges shall send details of transactions to investors, by the end of trading day, through SMSes and e-mail alerts," SEBI said in a circular.
Exchanges would have to implement the order by 2nd December and it would be applicable to trading in the cash and derivative segments.
SEBI said it had received complaints from investors against brokers about unauthorised trading in their accounts.
The regulator has issued the circular after consultation with the participants and bourses, including the Bombay Stock Exchange and the National Stock Exchange.
SEBI also directed the exchanges to provide a platform wherein brokers can upload client details like name, address, mobile number, e-mail and identification unique to every client.
The circular directed brokers to ensure that no two persons have a common mobile number or e-mail.
The market regulator has also asked exchanges to verify the details uploaded by brokers by sending SMSes, e-mail and letters to the correspondence address of clients.
Besides, exchanges would have to report discrepancies in data upload to brokers. SEBI has allowed the exchanges to use a portion of the listing fees to meet the expenses for offering this facility.
It has also asked exchanges to give implementation status of the circular in their monthly reports, besides giving wide publicity to this facility.
Leader of the opposition Sushma Swaraj questioned when the prime minister does not enjoy immunity from prosecution under the criminal law and Prevention of Corruption Act, why he was being kept out of the ambit of the Lokpal
New Delhi: The Lokpal Bill, which excludes the office of the prime minister, higher judiciary and conduct of Members of Parliament (MPs) inside Parliament from the purview of the anti-corruption watchdog, was introduced in Lok Sabha today amid objections by BJP and its NDA partners, reports PTI.
The Lokpal Bill, 2011 introduced by minister of state for personnel V Narayanasamy, seeks to keep the office of the prime minister outside the purview of the ombudsman during his term in office.
The institution would inquire into allegations of corruption in respect of the prime minister only after he demits office.
The government has maintained that the conduct of judiciary will be covered by the Judicial Standards and Accountability Bill pending with a Parliamentary Standing Committee.
Similarly, the conduct of MPs has also been excluded from the ambit of Lokpal as under Article 105 (2) "no member of Parliament shall be liable to any proceedings in any court in respect of anything said or any vote given by him in Parliament..."
Just before introduction of the bill, speaker Meira Kumar gave permission to leader of the opposition Sushma Swaraj to express her views as a special case.
Ms Swaraj asked when the prime minister does not enjoy immunity from prosecution under the criminal law and Prevention of Corruption Act, why he was being kept out of the ambit of the Lokpal.
She maintained that as per the Constitution, everybody was equal and there is no immunity from IPC, CrPC or the Prevention of Corruption Act.
"It is for the first time that under Clause 2 of the Lokpal Bill, all Union ministers are included except the prime minister. I don't understand why. How can anybody occupying any position be a holy cow? Why is the prime minister being kept out of its purview?" Ms Swaraj posed.
She said as chairperson of the then standing committee on home, Pranab Mukherjee had accepted that the prime minister should be within the purview of the Lokpal. "The prime minister (Manmohan Singh) has himself said he wants to be within its ambit. Why is the Cabinet not paying heed to his views?" she asked.
Mr Mukherjee told the House that Ms Swaraj's contention that he gave his nod to the NDA Lokpal Bill is true.
"On 16 February 2002 as chairperson of the standing committee on home, I had placed that bill on the table of the House. NDA had two full years after that. Why did they not bring the bill," Mr Mukherjee wondered.
Under the provisions of the Bill, the Lokpal will presume that a public servant has acquired assets through corrupt means if he or she fails to declare them or gives any misleading information.
The Lokpal can also recommend transfer or suspension of public servants connected with allegations of corruption.
The anti-corruption watchdog would take up corruption matters involving ministers, MPs, Group 'A' officers and others equivalent to this grade in any body, board, authority, corporation, trust, society or autonomous body set up by an Act of Parliament.
The Lokpal, consisting of a chairperson and eight members, half of them judicial, will have its own prosecution and investigation wing with officers and staff necessary to carry out its functions.
Persons with impeccable integrity, with 25 years of experience in administration who have dealt with corruption and vigilance, would also form part of the Lokpal.
According to one of the provisions of the bill, the Lokpal cannot look into complaints against any of its members or the chairman. Such complaints would be referred to the chief justice of India by the president.
The Lokpal would not require sanction or approval under Section 197 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, or Section 19 of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, in cases where prosecution is proposed.
The Lokpal will also have powers to attach the property of corrupt public servants acquired through corrupt means.
At the same time, the bill provides for prosecution for false complaint. The punishment term would not be less than two years in jail. The prison term can extend up to five years.
A penalty ranging from Rs25,000 to Rs2 lakh is also proposed on people found guilty of making false complaints.
The public servant is also entitled to compensation.
The anti-corruption watchdog can also seek the assistance of the Centre and the state government in conducting inquiries.
It provides for a time limitation period of seven years from the date of taking cognisance of an offence. In the case of the prime minister, the limitation period will apply after he or she demits office.
The measure does not provide for constitution of Lokayukta as in states.
The expenses to run the institution would be borne out of the Consolidated Fund of India.
The government hopes if the standing committee comes out with its recommendations on the bill by August-end, it could then go ahead with its passage.
The Lokpal Bill has had a long and chequered history.
Legislations in the past had included the prime minister within the ambit of the bill only on a few occasions.
The National Commission for Review of the Working of the Constitution in 2001 had recommended that the prime minister be kept out of the Lokpal's purview since he occupies a unique position and is the head of the entire governmental structure.
The commission, headed by retired chief justice MN Venkatachaliah, had said that the prime minister as the symbol of stability and continuity of the regime should not be exposed to the risks of well-orchestrated attempts to malign his image and reputation.
The idea of Lokpal emanated from the office of ombudsman prevalent in Scandinavian countries.
The first legislative attempt at Lokpal in India fell after the bill was passed in the 4th Lok Sabha in 1969 but could not get through in Rajya Sabha.
Subsequently, Lokpal bills were introduced in 1971, 1977, 1985, 1989, 1996, 1998, 2001, 2005 and in 2008.