Govt asks banks to reach out to customers

Last Updated: Thu, Apr 25, 2013 05:34 hrs

As the government's flagship Direct Benefits Transfer (DBT) scheme fails to make its mark, the finance ministry has asked public sector banks to reach out to customers through advertisements, phone calls, SMS, e-mails and ATMs to seed their Aadhaar numbers into the bank accounts. In a letter to the banks on April 22, it has given out a strategy for seeding Aadhaar into bank accounts by May 15.

It said besides the camp based approach and account holders approaching banks for seeding, banks would need to consider other solutions and use technology so that a large number of beneficiaries could be expeditiously covered.

So far, nearly 80 lakh bank accounts have been seeded with Aadhaar.

"Rollout of DBT in the second phase, where 78 more districts would be covered, would require a sharper focus on collection and seeding of Aadhaar into the bank accounts. The government has also decided to launch DBT for LPG throughout the country tentatively from October 1, 2013. This would require a much larger number of beneficiaries to be covered," the finance ministry said in the letter.

Earlier in December, the Planning Commission had issued instructions for a camp based approach for opening bank accounts and seeding Aadhaar. In addition, banks have been seeding Aadhaar into bank accounts whenever the beneficiaries approach them.

In the latest directive, banks have been advised to issue advertisements in the local print and electronic media appealing account holders to open bank accounts and get Aadhaar seeded into it. Banks will also have to put up banners at their branches and ATMs with similar appeal.

Pre-recorded messages will be sent from call centres to advise customers to open bank account and get Aadhaar seeded. Applications will be developed for collection of Aadhaar from customers through bulk SMS or e-mails. Banks will enable their ATM network to advise customers to seed Aadhaar.

The finance ministry has also asked banks to develop Interactive voice response application which can be used by the customers to send request for seeding of Aadhaar into the bank accounts. Banks can also use Remote Aadhaar Seeding Framework, developed by Unique Identification Authority of India, to access and verify the Aadhaar details on line and seed Aadhaar into bank account details.

The DBT scheme, launched from this calendar year, has seen about 3.5 crore transactions so far, transferring over Rs 45 crore to Aadhaar seeded accounts of beneficiaries.

The scheme, which replaces various kinds of subsidies with direct cash transfers to the accounts of beneficiaries, will be extended to 78 more districts and three more schemes in July. This will take the scheme to 121 districts covering 29 schemes in about next three months.

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