Mumbai: Pensioners hit hardest by glitches in Aadhar card registrations
Rule mandating linking of unique ID to pension leaves a marginalised lot suffering, thanks to technical glitches
Problems regarding the Aadhaar card continue to harass people, especially pensioners. Issues such as failure to link Aadhaar to their pension accounts, or fingerprints not registering for the biometric data, etc have resulted in the pensions of many being stopped. Resolving them to restart the pensions on which they and their families are dependent is proving to be an uphill task. Jaywantibai Wakale, 52, holds her monthly pension of '1,000 dear as it adds to her monthly earnings of '3,000. She earns around '2,000 as a maid. Her daughter Pratiksha, 21, is pursuing further studies.
Jaywantibai Wakale gets her iris scanned at the Regional Employees' Provident Fund Office. Pic/Datta Kumbhar
But since March 2017, the Sewri resident's bank account with State Bank of India's Parel branch has not shown a deposit of '1,000. She was told that her aadhaar card was not linked to her pension account, so her pension was stopped. Wakale said, "My husband, Gangadhar, used to work in a private printing press, but since 2005, he is missing. On humanitarian grounds the company entitled me to pension and since past few years, I am getting '1,000 monthly. It was abruptly stopped from March 2017." Wakale said she visited the Regional Employee's Provident Fund office in Bandra last Friday and got her iris (eye) scanned, as her fingerprints did not register with the biometric machine at her bank. She added, "I was not told by my bank about the aadhaar linkage."
Getting an iris scan
Manik Solanki, 64, worked at Standard Mills, Prabhadevi, and earned a monthly salary of '12,000, until the mill shut down in 2000, and she was forced to take voluntary retirement, after serving the company for almost 25 years, said her husband Ramesh Solanki, a retired ONGC employee. A resident of Kandivali, Solanki has an account with State Bank of India, Vile Parle branch and got her pension of '800, until last month. She had visited the bank in November to submit the life certificate, but the biometric machine failed to read her finger prints and therefore her aadhar linkage could not happen. The bank directed her to the RPEF office in Bandra and she got an iris scan done. "We have been told that the pension will start again from January 2018 cycle, while the December arrears will also get adjusted," said Ramesh.
Rush at counter
A data staffer at REPF, Bandra said, "On an average, since November we get around 100 plus pensioners at a counter. Around 600 to 800 come daily and during the weekend the number is less. We have both iris scanners and biometric machines, which usually take less than two minutes for registering, provided the aadhaar record is already linked." When contacted, Pankaj Raman, Regional Provident Fund Commissioner (RPFC-1) Bandra said, "With the introduction of mobile application UMANG, which can be downloaded by anyone, the entire online process can be operated at the tip of citizen's fingers. We are also conducting camps to facilitate large centres and housing societies, where citizens can be given the facility at their door step." Dr V P Joy, Central Provident Fund Commissioner, New Delhi, in a note stated, "As per the provisions laid down for pensioners under Employee's Pension Scheme, 1995, they are required to submit Life Certificate annually in the month of November each year. From 2016, facility has been provided for submission of Jeevan Praman digitally as authentication for proof of individual pensioners."
The note further stated, in order to obviate the difficulties faced by the pensioners in submission of Jeevan Pramaan in the month of November 2017 following has been decided:
a) Pensioners who have already submitted Jeevan Pramaan digitally for the previous year need not essentially submit digital Jeevan Pramaan for the current year. If they face any difficulty in doing so, they may submit paper-based life certificate to the concerned bank or can submit Jeevan Pramaan digitally as per their convenience.
b) Those who have not submitted Jeevan Pramaan digitally even once should submit Jeevan Pramaan digitally in the month of November 2017. The facility of submission of Jeevan Pramaan digitally is available in all offices of the EPFO, pension disbursing banks and common service centers. Further digital Jeevan Pramaan has been made available in the UMANG Application of EPFO.
c) Life Certificate in physical form may be accepted from pensioners who have genuine reason for not submitting digital Jeevan Pramaan and the reason should be recorded by the pensioner while submitted the life certificate. "Suitable instructions to the filed offices on the above lines have already been circulated for compliance so that no pensioner faces any difficulty in this regard," states Dr Joy.
Lakhs rely on pension for daily bread
More than 1 crore families in India can be classified as pensioner families, where the pension disbursed by various government bodies is the basis of their income and sustainability. There are about 54 lakh pensioners of the central government and a similar number of the various state and UT governments and various other government agencies. These include pensioners from public sector enterprises. In addition to this, defence pensioners exceed 25 lakh.
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