OMBUDSMAN SCHEME

  • Recently, the Prime Minister has launched the integrated ombudsman scheme.
  • In 2019 the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) had launched the Complaint Management System (CMS) in order to improve the customer experience in the grievance redressal process of banking services.
  • The PM has also launched the RBI’s Retail Direct Scheme.

Ombudsman

  • A government official who deals with complaints made by ordinary people against public organizations. This concept of Ombudsman arrived from Sweden.
  • It means an officer appointed by the Legislature to handle complaints against a service or administrative authority.

In India an Ombudsman is appointed to resolve grievances in the following sectors.

  1. Insurance Ombudsman
  2. Income Tax Ombudsman
  3. Banking Ombudsman

Important points:

  • The first ombudsman scheme was rolled out in the 1990s. The system was always viewed as an issue by consumers.
  • One of the primary concerns was the lack of maintainable grounds on which the consumer could challenge the actions of a regulated entity at the ombudsman or a rejection of the complaint on technical grounds, resulting in a preference for the consumer court notwithstanding the extended timelines for redressal.
  • The move to integrate the systems (banking, NBFC, and digital payments) and expand the grounds for complaints is expected to see a positive response from consumers.
  • The Scheme defines ‘deficiency in service’ as the ground for filing a complaint, with a specified list of exclusions.
  • Therefore, the complaints would no longer be rejected simply on account of “not covered under the grounds listed in the scheme”.
  • The scheme is jurisdiction neutral and a centralised receipt and processing centre has been set-up in Chandigarh for initial handling of complaints in any language.
  • RBI had created a provision for the use of Artificial Intelligence tools so that banks and investigating agencies could coordinate in a better way in the fastest time possible.
  • The bank customers will be able to file complaints, submit documents, track status, and give feedback through a single email address.
  • There will also be a multilingual toll-free number that will provide all relevant information on grievance redress.
  • The regulated entity will not have any right to appeal in cases where an award is issued by the ombudsman against it for not furnishing satisfactory and timely information.

SOURCE: THE HINDU,THE ECONOMIC TIMES,MINT

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