New Delhi: About Rs 35,000 crore unclaimed deposits as of February 2023 were transferred to the Reserve Bank by public sector banks (PSBs) in respect of deposits which have not been operated for 10 years or more, Parliament was informed on Monday.
These unclaimed deposits belong to 10.24 crore accounts transferred to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) as of the end of February 2023.
"As per information available with the RBI, as of the end of February 2023, the total amount of unclaimed deposits transferred to RBI by PSBs in respect of deposits which have not been operated for 10 years or more was Rs 35,012 crore," Minister of State for Finance Bhagwat Karad said in a written reply in the Lok Sabha.
State Bank of India (SBI) tops the chart of unclaimed deposits worth Rs 8,086 crore followed by Punjab National Bank Rs 5,340 crore, Canara Bank Rs 4,558 crore and Bank of Baroda Rs 3,904 crore.
To a question that if SBI officials do not assist/extend any help to the family of deceased and even they do not contact the family who have submitted death certificates of deceased, the minister said, the bank provides help to family of the deceased in settling all cases of claims.
"Settlement of account (s) of deceased constituent are taken up on priority by SBI. SBI staff has been sensitised and instructions are reiterated in all forums of banks at regular frequency," he said.
For the convenience of SBI customers, he said, the details/ process of settlement of claims without legal representation in respect of account(s) of deceased constituents, the specimen of prescribed forms, as well as updated FAQs for easy understanding have been uploaded on SBI’s website.
Every application for settlement of the account of a deceased constituent received at the SBI branch is duly acknowledged, the reply said.
Banks have also been advised to consider launching a special drive for finding the whereabouts of the customers/legal heirs in respect of accounts which have become inoperative, i.e., where there are no transactions in the account over a period of two years, it said.
"Further, it said, banks are required to display the list of unclaimed deposits/inoperative accounts which are inactive / inoperative for ten years or more on their respective websites, with the list containing the names and addresses of the account holder(s) in respect of unclaimed deposits/ inoperative accounts," it said.
Finally, it said, banks have been advised by RBI to play a more pro-active role in finding the whereabouts of the account holders whose accounts have remained inoperative.
Replying to another question, Karad said the government’s intent to take up privatisation of two Public Sector Banks and one Public Sector General Insurance Company along with approval of a policy of strategic disinvestment of Public Sector Enterprises was announced in Union Budget 2021-22.
Consideration of issues related to disinvestment and decision on selection, terms and conditions, etc. in case of strategic sale is entrusted to the Cabinet committee designated for this purpose under the Government of India (Transaction of Business) Rules, 1961, it said.
The amendments to the relevant Acts are required before initiating the process of privatisation, it said. The necessary legislative amendment to the General Insurance Business (Nationalisation) Act, 1972 has been enacted, it said.
Further, representations, opinions or recommendations on various issues including, privatisation of PSBs, received by the Government from time to time are suitably examined.