THE PUNJAB government has decided to disburse social security benefits and old age pensions to rural beneficiaries at their doorsteps through business correspondents engaged by banks. The benefits and pensions are usually credited directly into their bank accounts.
The decision to engage business correspondents for disbursal has been taken in the wake of the curfew, due to which beneficiaries would not be able to reach banks and ATMs. In a correspondence to all administrative secretaries and field officers, the state home department on Wednesday directed that the social security benefits of Union government and state old-age pensions be disbursed through business correspondents.
“If the number of business correspondents is required to be augmented, banks are required to do it immediately. They are further requested to approach the district authorities for bulk passes for business correspondents,” directed Punjab Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Satish Chandra.
He also instructed that social distancing norms — at least 2 metres between bank employees and customers and among the customers — be maintained.
On March 30, the state home department had allowed banks to operate for the entire week provided social distancing norms are maintained.
Chandra, in the directions issued on Wednesday, suggested that bank branches be opened to the public between 10 am to 2 pm. “Banks have been allowed to operate throughout the week in order to avoid overcrowding of bank branches. However, they are requested to adhere to public dealing timings to the extent possible and accordingly, it is suggested that the bank branches be opened to the public between 10 am to 2 pm,” directed Chandra.
“The deputy commissioners are requested to call a meeting of LDMs (lead district managers), DMs (district managers) of banks and district social security officers of their districts and try to get the rural pensions distributed through business correspondents to the extent possible,” he further said.
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