New Delhi: The Employees Provident Fund Organisation has floated a new circular suggesting banks to refrain from denying monthly pension for want of biometric or Aadhaar. According to the EPFO circular, there were other alternate ways to verify identification.
Pensioners often complained that wrinkled fingers often led to a failure of Aadhar identification. Getting pension was a also tedious process for many who did not have an Aadhar card. Banks in such instances outrightly rejected the pensioners. The EPFO' circular on Monday marked to heads of banks and postal services disbursing pension amounts, clarifies that alternative mechanisms must be checked during such instances.
"Some complaints have been received from pensioners who are being turned away and denied pensions for want of Aadhaar or Aadhaar fingerprint authentication not being successful due to poor fingerprint of the beneficiary or due to network/ connectivity or other technical reasons. Because of this, pensioners are not able to get and submit Jeevan Pramaan," the circular read.
Additionally the EPFO also suggested banks to facilitate special arrangements for ensure pensioners who cannot get and submit Jeevan Pramaan for not possessing Aadhaar. "Banks should also make special arrangement for the bed-ridden, differently abled, or senior citizens who are unable to visit the Aadhaar involvement Centre," it said. For giving pension to the pensioners whose fingerprint authentication fails for any reason, EPFO asked banks to may make provisions for IRIS scanner along with the fingerprint scanner in bank branches.
"It has been observed that in many cases IRIS authentication is successful even though finger print authentication may have failed. This is particularly true for many senior citizens. In such cases, digital life certificate may be generated on the basis of IRIS authentication and pension may be given," it said.
In case where finger print or IRIS authentication is not feasible for any reason, an entry should be made in the exception register with reasons and pension may be provided on the basis of paper life certificate and physical Aadhaar card or E-Aadhaar card of the pensioner after due verification as deemed fit by the bank.
"The exception register which would contain the details of exception granted alongwith paper life certificate, Aadhaar number or Aadhaar enrolment ID etc, maybe reviewed and audited periodically by senior management of the bank," the circular said.
The EPFO in a subsequent circular also asked banks to ensure that pensioners are facilitated for Aadhaar enrolment and a paper life certificate to be accepted in place of a digitally generated one for pensioners who for Aadhaar. For those whose finger-print wearing out made authentication difficult, banks would have to make provisions for IRIS scanner along with the fingerprint scanner in bank branches, read the EPFO circular.
The circular explains that the EPFO had signed an agreement with banks for disbursement of pension. This agreement laid down the duties and responsibilities of banks including collection of Life Certificate/Non-re-marriage certificate in November every month from pensioners and forwarding the same to EPFO field offices for necessary action. But since 2016, the Life Certificates are being obtained from the pensioners digitally as Jeevan Pramaan in place of the Life Certificate in paper form being submitted by the pensioners to the bank earlier. Submission of Jeevan Pramaan digitally has been facilitated through an app named UMANG by the EPFO.
Till such time Aadhaar is assigned to such pensioners, a paper life certificate may be accepted after collecting Aadhaar enrolment application receipts from such pensioners. "After due verification through alternate identification documents as deemed necessary by the bank, pensions may be disbursed," it said.
Concerned branches of the banks were doing this by collecting Life Certificate in paper form.