Alappuzha native on a mission to utilise unclaimed deposits in banks for elderly welfare

Chandradas has called for utilisation of the unutilised money for implementing a health insurance scheme for senior citizens.
Chandradas K
Chandradas KPhoto | Special Arrangement

ALAPPUZHA: Chandradas K has been on a mission to help the elderly. And, for the purpose he has set his eyes on unclaimed deposits in banks and institutions that manage financial instruments.

In a report published earlier this year, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) revealed that the banks in the country have Rs 78,213 crore in such deposits.

A retired revenue inspector from Alappuzha, Chandradas submitted a memorandum with the state government for steps to utilise such funds for the welfare of the aged. In the document, he said unclaimed deposits with the postal department and a few other Union government agencies are already being be utilised for the purpose.

The 59-year-old’s five-year-long fight bore fruit last year when the state government amended legislation for the welfare of aged people abandoned by children who landed jobs under the compassionate employment scheme.

Following the amendment, 25% of the salary of beneficiaries is deducted and given to parents or dependents who are left to fend for themselves.

According to Chandradas, the Union government and the RBI had asked all banks, including cooperative banks, to submit reports on such accounts. “In the postal department and employees provident fund, money in unclaimed accounts is utilised for the benefit of elderly people. The Union government should also craft legislation to this end,” he added.

In September 2023, the RBI released a list of 30 banks and allowed the public to identify accounts which have remained inoperative for the last 10 years or more. A special fund, the Depositor Education and Awareness Fund (DEAF), was formed to manage such accounts. The Unclaimed Deposits-Gateway to Access inforMation (UDGAM) portal was also introduced, where nominees or legal heirs can register and examine the unclaimed deposits of their loved ones.

In March 2023, the unclaimed amount in the DEAF stood at Rs 62,225 crore, which increased to Rs 78,213 in March 2024. In December 2023, the RBI said public sector banks had Rs 36,185 crore of such money, with private banks accounting for Rs 6,087 crore. Though it revealed that DEAF increased nearly 26% in March 2024 from a year earlier, RBI has not released bank-wise data, said Chandradas.

“In Kerala, unclaimed deposits are high in banks in Tiruvalla, Ranni and Mallapally taluks. Many parents in these regions live alone in their homes. The government should enact laws to utilise such deposits for the benefit of the elderly,” he asked in the memorandum. He is also planning to submit the letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the central government.

Chandradas has called for utilisation of the unutilised money for implementing a health insurance scheme for senior citizens.

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