Labour camps across Delhi received 7,800 more applications for new bank accounts, a day after the Delhi government set up 67 camps to assist workers in the organised and unorganised sector without bank accounts. While many of the applications received at various camps were from those who already have bank accounts, some people were left out of the process for the want of identity proofs. At a camp near the Shiv temple in Karol Bagh’s Bappa Nagar, scores of workers, home makers and shopkeepers crowded around the bankers, demanding application forms from staff of Canara Bank, and State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur.
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“I was walking over to the market when I spotted this crowd. I am applying for a new account with Canara bank though I have a pension account. Can’t I do so?” said 56-year-old Vidya Devi, whose son Jaspal Singh — a tailor in a factory on Tank Road — assisted her with filling out her form.
Word about the camp reached 22-year-old Lekraj through a fellow worker in another tailoring factory in Bappa Nagar. “I dont have a bank account and I will be getting Rs 24,00 at the end of this week, which I hope I can deposit in my new account,” said Lekraj, who was charged Rs 400 by a local agent for exchanging the previous week’s wages of Rs 2,500 — all paid to him in old notes.
Lekraj’s friend Danish stood nearby, dejected, because he did not have any identity proof.
The Delhi government’s revenue department and the labour department are organising these camps in all 11 districts of Delhi for workers before payday so that wages are paid at the start of December “in pursuance of Government of India’s directions”. After a meeting held by the Delhi government on Friday, the State Level Bankers’ Committee (SLBC) directed all 40 member banks in Delhi to set up camps in location decided by the Labour Department”
“We are intimated about the location we have to set up a camp a night before by the labour department. We will hold these camps till the end of the month. Today, we held a camp from 9 am till around 3 pm and we have received applications for savings account with a minimum balance of Rs 500 or Rs 1100 from Bappa Nagar,” said S K Sharma, District manager, Canara Bank and member of the SLBC, who was supervising his staff of six at the camp.
The Canara bank kiosk in Bappa Nagar has received 165 applications on Sunday. Banking staff were busy filling forms, clearing doubts and calming the restive crowd. “We are not giving out forms to minors, those offering thumbprints as signatures or those with bank accounts. We have been asking about alternate bank accounts but most people are lying. We have no way of verifying,” said Rahul Jha, a lead bank office”.
“Bank accounts will not be opened immediately because normal banking operations are on hold right now to deal with demonitisation. But we expect to open all these accounts after 10 days. All the applicants will have to come to the branch office and submit their minimum savings amount. This is only the initial process,” Jha added.