SMS/email reminders to pensioners, doorstep service on cards
To avoid discontinuation of pension due to pensioners’ inability to submit life certificate by November 30 every year, the Department of Pension and Pensioners’ Welfare has asked pension disbursing banks to send the pensioners reminders via SMS/email four times before the stipulated date and also ask them if they would like to avail themselves of doorstep service.
This communication to banks comes in the wake of the Department coming across a large number of pensioners being unable to submit their life certificate by the stipulated date of November 30 every year due to various reasons, leading to the pension disbursing authorities/banks discontinuing their monthly pension. Such pensioners face a lot of difficulty in re-starting their pension.
In order to promote ease of living for pensioners and minimise the cases of non-submission of life certificate and ensure uninterrupted disbursement of pension, the Department, in a circular, asked the pension disbursing banks to send SMSs/e-mails to the pensioners on October 24, November 1, November 15 and November 25 every year reminding them to submit the annual life certificate by the stipulated date.
As at March-end 2019, the total number of Central Government Pensioners, including Civil, Defense, Telecom, Railways And Postal, stood at 65, 32,465.
The Department, which is a part of the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions, said all pension disbursing banks should make an exception list as on December 1 every year of those pensioners who fail to submit their life certificate by November 30 and send SMS/e-mail advising them to submit the same at the earliest to avoid discontinuation of their pension.
Banks are also required to ask such pensioners, through SMS/e-mail as to whether they are interested in submission of the Life Certificate through a doorstep visit. Wherever a call centre/App based facility is available, banks should also encourage taking request for doorstep visits through such modes. The circular said banks should not charge any pensioner more than ₹60 for such a doorstep visit.
The circular emphasized that all banks should encourage promoting submission of the life certificate through digital means in line with the Reserve Bank of India circular of May 2015.
As regards pensioners who failed to submit their life certificate in the year 2019, the circular said the banks should prepare an exception list of such pensioners immediately and follow the steps outlined above.
The Centralized Pension Processing Centers of pension disbursing banks are required to report to the Department in the months of January, February and March the total number of central government pensioners who have and have not given the life certificate along with a breakup of the certificates submitted physically and through digital means.