The Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation has asked all pension-disbursing banks to not deny benefits to any person for the lack of Aadhaar. It has asked all the lenders to provide alternate methods of identification if Aadhaar-based authentication does not work.
In a circular to the heads of all pension-disbursing banks on Monday, EPFO said that it has received complaints “from pensioners who are being turned away and denied pensions for the 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”. Due to these reasons, the EPFO said, some beneficiaries are unable to get the life certificate and are being denied pension.
Referring to the Cabinet Secretariat’s memorandum from December 2017, the EPFO has asked all banks to have alternate methods of identification for the beneficiaries. The ways in which the banks must assist the beneficiaries include helping the pensioners to enroll for Aadhaar if they don’t have one; they should make special arrangements for pensioners who might not be in a position to travel to the bank or an Aadhaar enrolment centre due to health issues or because of old age; and “a paper life certificate” must be accepted after collecting the Aadhaar enrolment application receipts and the beneficiaries must be allowed identity proof through alternate documents.
For authentication of identity, EPFO has asked banks to have iris scanners along with fingerprint authentication mechanism. It stated that in many cases iris-based authentication is successful even when fingerprint authentications fail, and in such cases life certificate must be issued based on iris authentications.
In cases when neither iris nor fingerprint authentication works, the EPFO has asked banks to record the beneficiaries’ details in an “exception register” and the pension must be provided based on the paper life certificate and the Aadhaar card or e-card after due verification.
“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,” EPFO said in its circular.
It mentioned that since 2016 life certificates of beneficiaries are being obtained by the banks digitally, as Jeevan Pramaan, some of these problems have cropped up, and the circular aims to resolve such issues as some of the beneficiaries were unable to access or submit their Jeevan Pramaan’s for Aadhaar-related issues.
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