Views & Reviews
End Harassment of senior citizen pensioners — NPP
The elderly people in our society today face physical, mental, financial and family issues that can erode their sense of security and cause a great deal of stress. As seniors move into retirement, a host of health issues that they may not have previously experienced may manifest themselves. The high costs of healthcare along with any debt that has accumulated can make it very difficult for many seniors to make ends meet.
To add to their woes, the government has made it mandatory for these old people to procure and submit a life certificate every year in order to keep receiving their pensions. Every year we witness old and frail pensioners queuing up outside the Treasury Offices and various branches of the State Bank of India to collect or submit their life certificates. How can the government and the State Bank of India expect every senior citizen to come in person and appear before the treasury or bank officials when many of them are suffering from old age ailments and are bed-ridden?
Those who are in high positions including the bank employees should be emphatic towards the old pensioners who live in the far flung and rural areas of the State. More so during this pandemic situation where the old people are the most vulnerable to the corona virus, the government and the SBI officials should not deliberately harass them by forcing them to appear in person for collecting and submitting their life certificates.
No doubt, recently the Government of India has taken up an initiative of online application and submission of life certificates. However, just imagine the lot of these poor and helpless senior citizens, some of whom do not even know how to operate a simple key pad mobile phone. How can the government be so thoughtless to make them do something which is beyond their ability? How can we expect these old people, some of whom are suffering from eye-sight problems, to go through the nitty-gritty of online application or submission? Matters will be even worse for those old age people who live in the far flung areas where there are network connectivity issues. On top of that, most of the old pensioners cannot even afford to buy for themselves a smart phone which makes the matter all the more pitiful.
We would like to therefore suggest that instead of making the old age pensioners from suffering any further, the government should come up with a plan to take the services of pension to the old people instead of making them come to the offices or banks. This will definitely ensure that the credibility of the process of life certificate is also dealt with genuinely while also ensuring that the senior citizens are not unduly harassed in the name of a certificate. On the other hand, State Bank of India can start a door-to-door service or setting up Customer Service Points in all the villages whereby some of the bank employees can be deputed for reaching out to the old pensioners for any official formalities including life certificate. Another alternative could be to entrust the local authorities including the Village Councils, GBs, Pastors, etc. to take the onus and responsibility of certifying the life certificates by physical verifying the old age people in their own respective villages or colonies. The State Bank of India and the Government should bring about these necessary changes immediately to provide respite to the senior citizens.
It is a common courtesy to treat the senior citizens with dignity and respect and nothing will be lost if the government officials and the State Bank of India employees show some amount of respect to these people who are the age of their own parents or grandparents. However, gone are the days when the common people, especially the elderly used to get their due respect from the government and SBI employees. Nowadays, State Bank of India, has become notorious for all the wrong reasons including their arrogant and rude attitude towards their customers. Several instances have also been reported from various branches of SBI that the old people are meted with curt replies and the bank employees do not even regard them as human beings. They are not even offered a place to seat and relax while inside the bank premises. It is a matter of great shame that one of the oldest nationalised banks of India is today only aiming at increasing their cash transaction and neglecting the plight of their customers. They should in fact learn a lot from other private banks what customer satisfaction is all about and change their attitude before they lose the trust and confidence of the general public. The same goes for other government offices as well. The government employees are no doubt the privileged lots but this privilege is there for a reason, and that is public service. Perhaps for this very reason, the government employees are also known as public servants and not the other way around. Therefore, it is high time for those in power and credible positions to double check their priorities and give their best services for the public.
National People’s Party (NPP)