Fading fingerprints disconnect Aadhaar link for the elderly

Senior citizens seek exception from registering biometrics in banks

December 04, 2017 12:46 am | Updated 06:08 pm IST - Chennai

Touchy issue:  Lack of a common guideline for linking Aadhaar with bank accounts and pension has put the elderly to inconvenience.

Touchy issue: Lack of a common guideline for linking Aadhaar with bank accounts and pension has put the elderly to inconvenience.

Many senior citizens visiting banks for providing life certificate for pension and linking their Aadhaar numbers with bank accounts have been put to a lot of hardship. They complained that there was no common rule for banks and each of them was following whatever pattern their head offices had decided.

Pensioners Herbert Clay, 69, and his wife Annie Clay, 63, had a tough time at the State Bank of India, Saligramam branch, where they had gone to submit their life certificate for pension. They were told that the details had to be updated online and linked with their Aadhaar numbers, but the bank did not have any facility to do so. Instead, they were asked to go to a browsing centre with biometric scanners and upload the certificate.

“Locating a browsing centre with such scanners itself is an arduous task. Besides, how can we be sure that the data will not be misused when we do it from an unauthorised facility,” Mr. Clay questioned.

Senior citizen P.K. Mahalingam of Perumattunallur was shocked when his bank told him that his account would be locked if his Aadhar was not linked to it. “I am 82-years-old and a heart patient. At the bank, my finger prints did not match with those originally recorded in 2011 since I have aged since,” he said.

Out of state ordeal

For 86-year-old Vatsala, a family pensioner of Andhra Pradesh government residing in Tamil Nadu, it is an ordeal to produce the life certificate. This year, the A.P. government has mandated that pensioners should personally visit treasury offices or e-seva centres to submit their fingerprint scan and authenticate the records.

Though the Andhra government has said that pensioners can avail themselves of the facility anywhere in the State, people like Vatsala, residing outside the State, have no other go but to travel all the way to A.P. to complete the formalities. They want the Andhra government to relax norms for those residing outside the State.

Similarly, government pensioners have been asked to provide biometrics to link Aadhaar to their pensions on https://jeevanpramaan.gov. in/

S.M. Chellasamy of Tamil Nadu Senior Citizens Welfare Association said that there was no clarity when it came to linking pension accounts with Aadhaar or biometrics. “In the case of senior citizens most times the finger prints vanish with age and they cannot use it to validate Aadhaar. Some kind of exemption must be provided for senior citizens,” he said.

“Some banks are taking Aadhaar numbers for linking accounts, while others are asking for biometrics so that their work would become easier. Even in the case of life certificates, some banks are just taking the signature of senior citizens. The RBI does not issue any common guideline which is why there are such issues,” said a banker.

For people like Mr. Mahalingam, a banker explained that they could write to the branch manager with a copy to the regional office saying that they could link the account with just the Aadhaar number and not insist on biometrics.

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