Pune: Over 50,000 pensioners in the city could not get pension this month for failing to submit the digital life certificate, as it has been made mandatory by the Labour Ministry. As a result of this, the pensioners crowded the Employee Provident Fund Office (EPFO) at Golibar Maidan on Wednesday.
Many senior citizens complained of having had to wait in queues for hours together. Following this, Arun Kumar, Pune Regional Commissioner, convened a meeting with bank managers in Pune and instructed them to complete the formalities toward acceptance of the digital living certificate at the earliest.
Kumar warned the bank officials that in case of failure to comply, the EPF would not release service charge to banks paid for servicing monthly pension to around 1.10 lakh pensioners in the district.
Kumar added that only 55,000 pensioners have submitted their digital life certificate. He told Sakal Times, “Nationalised banks were asked to obtain the digital life certificate from the pensioners having accounts with them on or before December 31, 2016. Due to a lack of response, the extension of three more months was given.”
He said despite this, only 50 per cent pensioners have done the needful. Due to this, the pension for May was withheld.
Following the withholding of the monthly pension, the EPFO witnessed unprecedented serpentine queues of senior citizens since Wednesday morning.
Elderly citizens complained about having had to stand in the queues for hours together and unavailability of adequate counters at the EPFO near Golibar Maidan.
GL Lokhande, who was standing in the queue since morning, told Sakal Times, “There are not enough counters, we are waiting for at least three hours.” Sunanda Ingale, a widow, also had a similar experience.
Kumar said as banks have failed to complete their task, the EPFO stepped in to facilitate the pensioners by feeding their biometric details in the system.
He said his office was doing whatever best can be provided to the pensioners. However, he said the EPFO was forced to do it as banks had failed miserably in completing this task.
He added that the EPFO pays service tax to nationalised banks to complete this task. So, it is expected that they should complete it soon. The EPFO will stop accepting the digital life certificate from Monday.
He added that his office will provide training to bank officials if required.
Pensioners in Pune - 1,10,000
Pensioners with accounts in following banks
Bank of India - 60,000
State Bank of India - 40,000
Punjab National Bank - 05,000
Bank of Maharashtra - 5,000