Pensioners told to add Aadhaar number to bank account

NEW DELHI: The Centre has launched a massive exercise to encourage nearly 30 lakh central government pensioners to seed their bank accounts with Aadhaar numbers. All pensioners have started receiving a telephone call or a postcard from their bank managers appealing to them to do so.

District Collectors across the country have been roped in for the exercise by the ministry of personnel. Last week, the Centre held a video-conference with 200 collectors and asked them to convene a special meeting with all bank branch managers.

From Tuesday, bank managers started calling pensioners, who draw pension from their respective banks, appealing to them to voluntarily seed their existing Aadhaar numbers in the pension accounts while explaining the benefits of the step. Once the seeding happens, the pensioner can online submit a ‘Jeevan Praman’ certificate annually to the bank to renew his pension, instead of physically making the trip to the bank to prove that he is alive.

‘Jeevan Praman’ is a pet project of Modi launched in 2014. “14 lakh central government pensioners have seeded their pension accounts with an Aadhaar number but there are 44 lakh central government pensioners.

Our aim is to speak to all 640-odd DCs in the country by video-conference in the next couple of months to exhort them to get bank managers on board and achieve 100% seeding of all pension accounts with Aadhaar in the next 4-5 months,” a senior government official told ET. 

Bank managers are being asked to either personally call on the mobile phone or landline number of the pensioner or send him or her a postcard or SMS with the appeal.

DMs have been asked to submit a report to the Centre on the exercise on March 29 and a review is scheduled for April 2. Parliament had earlier this month passed the Aadhar bill, making an Aadhaar number mandatory for availing public services under the direct benefit transfer mechanism. 

“Jeevan Praman or a digital life certificate is also a service for pensioners on basis of Aadhaar but we are keeping it voluntary so far. It’s in benefit of the aged pensioners to have the facility to avoid trips to banks,” a senior official said.