Digital Life Certification Info Should not be Outsourced: Bank Bachao Desh Bachao Manch
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In a letter to the Indian government, Bank Bachao Desh Bachao Manch cautioned against outsourcing or providing digital life certificate information to any outside organisation. The Forum conveyed its apprehensions on the issue and asked Reserve Bank Governor Shakti Kanta Das to act promptly in a letter.
Joint convenors Soumya Dutta and Bishwa Ranjan Roy wrote a letter to Jitendra Singh, Minister of Personnel, Public Grievances, Pension Department, on behalf of the organisation, drawing attention to several concerns about life certificates for the benefit of all pensioners in the nation.
In this context, Dutta, the Joint Convenor of the Forum, said, "There are about 1.25 crore pensioners under the Central and state governments in the country. Every year, their life certificate has to be submitted between November 1 and November 30. As a result, banks are crowded every day during this period. This is a problem for the elderly. So, for senior citizens above 80, if a life certificate is submitted by October 1, they would benefit."
Also, once the digital life certificate is submitted, i.e., fingerprint, biometric, etc., that information cannot be given to any external agency, Dutta added.
"Besides, the printed form or hard copy in circulation for senior citizens and disabled pensioners should be accepted at any other branch near home, even if it is not the home branch. In other words, it is desirable that they can deposit at any branch near their home."
The Forum has demanded that banks repeatedly warn pensioners through messages not to divulge any KYC information to anyone, giving banks the need to set up a special task force for depositing life certificates of disabled pensioners for the convenience of pensioners.
The letter said, "Recently, we have come to know from media reports that sensitive information about 81.5 crore Indians has been leaked on the dark web, which demonstrates a breach of trust in data privacy. According to reports, the stolen database includes Aadhaar and passport details of billions of citizens, names, phone numbers, and permanent and temporary addresses—both."
"Whether the news is true or not may be a matter of conjecture, but the reality is that these frauds are perpetrated across the country by misusing the AePS system regarding the security of their money stored in various bank accounts and financial institutions, as well as the security and privacy of their personal information. The relationship has also made citizens skeptical. These incidents have undermined the deep trust that bank depositors and account holders have placed in banks as the custodians of their hard-earned money and have raised questions about how well banks are fulfilling their responsibilities as custodians. We have also been facing anxious queries from citizens across the country regarding the safety and security of their hard-earned deposits."
The Forum highlighted that despite their repeated appeals, neither banks nor financial institutions have given any credible information about implementing adequate safeguards to prevent such fraud in the absence of customers' consent.
The letter appealed to the Reserve Bank "to instruct all banks not to compel customers to submit Aadhaar information when opening a bank account, as it is not mandatory as per the current guidelines."
It has also been demanded to immediately stop the system of opening accounts on the e-KYC platform. The reason is directly related to submitting Aadhaar information through biometrics. Banks should return to the normal method of using KYC documents and address proofs like voter cards, electric bills, landline phone bills, etc.
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