Damodaran Committee: Banks should deliver pensions for sick, disabled pensioners at their doorstep
Moneylife Digital Team 04 August 2011

RBI panel on customer services has also recommended that pensioners be allowed to submit annual life certificate at any branch of the bank

The Reserve Bank of India-appointed committee on bank customer services has recommended prioritised services for senior citizens and physically handicapped persons through effective crowd management.

According to the report of the committee that was submitted on Wednesday, pensioners should be allowed to submit their annual life certificate at any of the bank branches and not necessarily at the home branch and all such certificates ought to be maintained in a centralised database.

"The data relating to individual pensioners, the monthly certificates that pensioners would desire, should be available in a secure domain for immediate retrieval and usage," the report says.

The committee was headed by M Damodaran, former chairman of the Securities and Exchange Board of India. The recommendations, if implemented, will be a relief for senior citizens who otherwise have to travel long distances to get to the bank head office for such matters.

Moneylife has highlighted these issues regularly and recently reported that the committee was working on such pro-consumer steps. (Read, "RBI report on customer services expected to be pro-consumer")

Another important suggestion by the committee is that banks should make arrangements to deliver pensions to sick and disabled pensioners at their doorstep. It has also said that "there should be uniformity among banks as to the age for consideration of the longevity, based on which a pensioner's loan is calculated."

On the contentious issue of 'either' or 'survivor', the committee says that "on the demise of the pensioner, the existing 'either or survivor' pension account should become a single account in the name of the 'survivor' and the family pension should automatically be credited to such accounts. Similarly, all joint accounts with 'either or survivor' clause should become single accounts of the 'survivor' after the demise of the other joint account holder."

The committee also recommended that there should be an SMS alert service on the balance in accounts, to be sent at periodic intervals, as well as about due dates for submission of important documents. It also suggested that the customers list in the senior citizens category should be automatically updated based on the date of birth.

Other recommendations include the streamlining and fine-tuning of the functioning of Banks' Centralised Pension Processing Centres to ensure timely disbursal of pension, commencement of family pension on time and error-free calculation of pensions. It also said that "in line with the RBI Guidelines and Board approved Policies, there must be hassle-free settlement of amount dues to the nominee/legal heir, as and when required."

1 decade ago
since Bank branches are under CBS, it makes sense that Pensioner should be able to submit life certificate at any branch of the bank, as specimen signature of the pensioner can be viewed at any branch
1 decade ago
The Committee and its chairman is so blissfully divorced fro the ralities that one feels sorry. The ignominy and harassment that the pensioners, many in their last days, are subjected to by the bank officials cannot be expressed. Not only that, there atr managers who even compel the pensioners to come again and again for signing the prescribed forms and issuing life certificates.
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