Don’t harass pensioners, centre tells banks

New Delhi: Against the backdrop of complaints of pensioners’ harassment, the central government has directed banks not to insist that retired government employees be physically present for giving life certificates for continuation of pension.

Sanjay Kothari, Secretary of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions
Sanjay Kothari, Secretary of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions

The move comes after pensioners’ associations raised the issue of non-adherence of rules regarding submission of life certificates by authorised banks.

It was charged that some bank branches were insisting on the personal appearance of pensioners for submission of life certificates along with pension payment orders (PPOs), a Ministry of Personnel official said.

“All banks have been instructed to strictly adhere to existing norms and not harass pensioners or their kin by insisting upon physical presence if their life certificate is duly signed by the authority concerned and is submitted along with Aadhar-based authentication of life certificate,” the official said.

The government has also informed banks about the scheme for pensioners to prove their existence through Aadhaar-based authentication of life certificate, which has been started as part of the Prime Minister’s ‘Digital India’ mission.

All pensioners are required to provide proof of their existence annually to the pension disbursing bank.

According to rules, a pensioner is exempted from physical appearance if he gives a life certificate duly verified by a MP, state legislature, person exercising the power of a magistrate, a gazetted government servant, a police officer not below the rank of sub-inspector in charge of a police station, a block development officer, tehsildar or naib tehsildar and treasury officer, among others.

In case of a pensioner drawing pension through a public sector bank, the life certificate may be signed by an officer of the public sector bank.

According to the rules, “A pensioner not residing in India in respect of whom his duly authorised agent produces a life certificate signed by a magistrate, notary, a banker or a diplomatic representative of India, is exempted from special appearance.”