Customers thronging a counter at the pension section at a State Bank of India branch in Dimapur on January 4.
Bank officials advises linking bank account with pension to ease burden
Morung Express News
Dimapur | January 4
It is that time of the month when banks in Nagaland become noticeably abuzz. As the government releases monthly salaries to its over 1.25 lakh employees, banks go on overdrive to cater to the growing demand, normally translating into long queues or rather hordes of customers thronging the banking counters particularly during the first week.
In the rush is the plight of retired government employees, mostly senior citizens. One section, in particular, those who were not privileged enough to learn to read and write.
While there are many who have their monthly pension credited directly to their registered bank accounts, there are still many who draw their money from the government Treasury. For this lot of pensioners, who draw directly from the Treasury or are yet to link their pension with bank account, receiving the monthly pension is literally one arduous task.
It implies the monthly ritual of going to the Treasury office to get papers done and collecting “token” followed by a trip to the bank. At the bank begins yet another round of waiting – depositing the “token” and encashing it. This process often takes 1-2 days if not a week.
According to one Dimapur banker, there could be approximately 5000 odd pensioners in the district, who go through this cumbersome process each month.
This strenuous monthly exercise can however be done away with, added the banker.
All the pensioner has to do is open a bank account or link his/her existing account where the monthly pension will automatically get credited to.
The number of pensioners drawing from the bank is however greater with the banker estimating that there are around 15,000 such retired government employees in Dimapur, who have opted for routing their pension through bank accounts.
5000, however, is still a great number when all of them decide to rush to the Treasury and to the bank in a space of 1-3 days, he added.
Senstisation to bust prevailing misconception
Asked what might be stopping them from approaching the banks, the banker held that there is a misconception concerning this.
“There appears to be a myth that it would be inconvenient for the pensioner to draw pension directly from the bank. The myth goes that an account holder (pensioner) has to go to Guwahati whenever there is an account-related problem.”
He chose not to go into how and where the “myth” originated, adding, “On the other hand, any account related problem can be redressed at the branch itself.”
Though it was not pointed out, there is the aspect of the older generation, who are still to get accustomed to modern day banking. And the spectre of facing a fatigued and often intimidating bank clerk.
There are advantages to banking nevertheless. For the benefit of the pensioner, the banker said, “Pension gets credited to the account before month-end, by the 27th-28th of every month. And whatever is the amount, it gets credited to the last paise.”
Further, there is loan incentive often to the tune of 24 times the net pension, he added.
“One need not lose days running from desk-to-desk and waiting in queue. Using an ATM for drawing the pension on any day will be more convenient,” the banker said.
The banker called for financial literacy, especially among the older generation, through mass sensitisation on the ease of transaction through bank accounts.