Columns

Postman can deliver proof of your life

Richa Mishra | Updated on November 27, 2020 Published on November 27, 2020

Right move: Physical verification of life certificate is sought to be done away with   -  THE HINDU

Using postmen to reach Jeevan Pramaan certificates to pensioners is a great move if tech issues like biometrics are sorted out

Thanks to emails and use of information technology to communicate, the once eagerly awaited dakiya (postman) has slowly become less relevant. The government has been finding ways to redefine the Indian postal system and what better way than focussing on serving senior pensioners in these pandemic times.

The Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions has launched doorstep service for submission of Digital Life Certificate (DLC) through the postman. India Post Payments Bank (IPPB) and the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (Meity) came together for this initiative of the Department of Pension and Pensioners’ Welfare (DoPPW).

For pensioners, it is a huge relief to submit their life certificates while staying at home.

According to the Minister of State for Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, Jitendra Singh, the DoPPW is trying to make pensioners “aatmanirbhar” by promoting DLC, which can be given from the comfort of one’s home. Due to the difficulties faced by the pensioners in submitting life certificate because of Covid-19, the government relaxed the timeline for submission of life certificate from November 1 to December 31 and then up to February 28, 2021. Singh said that pensioners, being among the most vulnerable groups to Covid-19, need a helping hand in addition to medical care.

Using postmen is definitely a great idea, all agree. But technology remains the primary touch point. And therein lies the challenge.

The Department has roped in IPPB to utilise its huge network of postmen and gramin dak sevaks in providing doorstep facility to pensioners for submission of life certificates digitally. In fact, the facility to submit life certificates online through ‘Jeevan Pramaan’ portal was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014 with the objective of providing a convenient and transparent facility to pensioners.

Jeevan Pramaan is meant to eventually benefit over a crore pensioners. At the launch, the Prime Minister had said that after the push towards self-certification, DLC was another enabling mechanism that would benefit the common man.

Personal appearance

The proposed digital certification will do away with the requirement of a pensioner having to submit a physical life certificate every November, in order to ensure continuity of pension being credited into his account. The earlier requirement entailed that a pensioner either personally presents himself before the pension disbursing agency, or submits a life certificate issued by authorities specified by the Central Pension Accounting Office.

Since then, the Department has been leveraging technology to make the system seamless and more convenient for the pensioners.

To get the doorstep service for submission of DLC through IPPB, pensioners can get detailed information on ippbonline.com. It is a chargeable service, which is available to all Central Government pensioners across the country irrespective of the fact their pension accounts are in different banks, the government said. Going one step further, the DOPPW has put the process to get “doorstep service of DLC” through IPPB @Youtube (Pension DOPPW) and its Facebook page.

IPPB has customised its bank software and dovetailed it with the Jeevan Pramaan software of MeitY and UIDAI. This is in addition to other facilities such as withdrawal of money from bank account while sitting at home, the government had said, adding that “IPPB is utilising its national network of more than 1,36,000 access points in post offices and more than 1,89,000 postmen and gramin dak sevaks with smart phones and biometric devices to provide doorstep banking services.”

“As a result a huge number of pensioners across the country shall be able to avail doorstep service through postmen/gramin dak sevaks, without visiting to bank branch or standing in a queue outside the bank branches,” it said.

Definitely a useful intervention, observers say. While the Jeevan Praman concept has made processes simpler for pensioners, technology adoption is an issue with that social segment. Having a familiar delivery channel (postmen) to complete the process formalities will help the exception cases. But use of biometric may prove to be a spoiler.

The Pune-headquartered All India Central Government Pensioners Association appreciates the step towards provision of Jeevan Pramaan/Digital Life Certificate at the doorstep of the pensioners leveraging the extensive postal network . “The senior pensioners are very happy to receive the service through postman,” it says.

But the DLC is generated only on successful authentication of biometric data in Aadhaar.

Corrective measures

In a letter to Secretary, Department of Posts, the Association said, “It is observed from the feedback from a number of the senior aged pensioners that the latest fingerprints do not match with the data stored earlier at the time of preparation of Aadhaar card and hence Digital Life Certificate is not generated. The efforts put in by the postman who visit the premises also go in vain.”

The Association has suggested measures like provision to scan photograph and signature of the account-holder and store the same in the KYC of the account-holder.

“As such, post office may store photographs and signatures of all the pensioners for whom they are the pension distributing authority. The postman may be allowed to take the photograph of the senior pensioner visited and forward the same to the competent authority, which in turn can verify the photograph with the one linked with the Post Office Savings Bank Account. On successful verification, the postman will take the life certificate (manual) with remark of mode of acceptance of life certificate,” HF Chaudhari, General Secretary of the Association, said, adding that “this step will satisfy both the senior pensioner as well as the postman, who has put in effort to reach at the doorstep of the senior pensioner.”

Chaudhari’s point is valid. To a make a good scheme 100 per cent effective, biometric may become a challenge. Not everything can become an exception and, therefore, a small tweak here and a little change there can bring huge relief for senior citizens who are pensioners.

Follow us on Telegram, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Linkedin. You can also download our Android App or IOS App.

Published on November 27, 2020
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor