ONE NATION, ONE OMBUDSMAN

Introduction

The Reserve Bank of India’s (“RBI”) Integrated Ombudsman Scheme (“Scheme”) was launched by Narendra Modi on 12thNovember, 2021. To do away with the quagmire of multiple Ombudsmen for different banking systems, and provide a single-window interface for the convenience of customers, the Scheme integrates the existing three Ombudsmen viz 
(i) the Banking Ombudsman;
(ii) the Ombudsman for Non-Banking Financial Companies; and
(iii) the Ombudsman for Digital Transactions.
Apart from integrating the three existing Ombudsmen, the Scheme also includes an Ombudsman for Non-Scheduled Primary Cooperative Banks with a deposit size of ₹50 crore and above. The Scheme adopts a ‘One nation, one Ombudsman’ approach by making the jurisdiction neutral.

Salient features of the Scheme

Some of the main features of the scheme are:

  • A complainant does not need to identify under which (old) scheme they are filing a complaint
  • The Scheme defines ‘deficiency in service’ as a ground for filing a complaint, with a specified list of exclusions. Therefore, complaints can no longer be rejected simply on account of “not [being] covered under the grounds listed in the scheme”. 
  • A Centralised Receipt & Processing Centre has been set up in Chandigarh for receipt and initial processing of physical and email complaints in any language.
  • The responsibility of representing the Regulated Entity and furnishing information in respect of complaints filed by customers against the Regulated Entity would be that of the Principal Nodal Officer equivalent to the rank of a General Manager in a Public Sector Bank.
  • The Regulated Entity will not have the right to appeal in cases where an award is issued by the Ombudsman against it for not furnishing satisfactory and timely information/documents.
  • The Executive Director-in-Charge of Consumer Education & Protection Department of RBI is the Appellate Authority.

Filing of Complaints

  • Complaints can continue to be filed online at https://cms.rbi.org.in or through a dedicated email address or sent in physical mode to the ‘Centralised Receipt & Processing Centre’ at Chandigarh. 
  • A Contact Centre with a toll-free number is also being operationalised in Hindi, English and eight other languages. The Contact Centre will provide information/clarifications regarding the alternate grievance redress mechanisms of RBI and to guide complainants in filing a complaint.

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