Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Loads of coins await pensioners at ‘cashless’ post offices

 Express News Service  |   Published: 04th January 2017

CHENNAI: Facing a cash crunch due to demonetisation, India Post is planning to disburse pensions to senior citizens through coins, according to Chief Post Master General Tamil Nadu Circle Charles Lobo.

Lobo said the postal department is unable to pay the pensions of senior citizens due to the shortage of Rs 100 denomination notes in circulation.

“We have been able to disburse partial pension of Rs 500 but we are not able to disburse the full amount due to cash crunch faced by the banks,” Lobo said.

“As a result, we are planning to disburse pension in the form of Rs 10 coins,” he said. The pension amounts of senior citizens, after being cleared by the Tahsildar, is routed through post offices in the form of a money order. While the State has moved some old-age pension accounts to banks, many continue to be with post offices.

“In Park Town, we have 66 elderly pensioners who are yet to be provided with Rs 1,000 pension. The issue is we are dependent on banks like State Bank of India, Indian Bank or Indian Overseas Bank for cash and most of the times we are unable to get it. This has resulted in severe cash crunch in rural areas, he added.

Interestingly, post offices would soon get cash directly from Reserve Bank of India once India Post starts banking operations in March. Lobo also said that inter-operability of ATMs of post offices with other banks have technically started from New Year but the scheme has yet to be inaugurated.

“Under this, the debit card issued to post office account holders can now be swiped at any bank ATM to access cash,” he said.

Currently, Post Office has issued one lakh debit cards to its account holders, according to data. “We are planning to issue another one lakh by January end,” Lobo added about the department’s plans.