In a major relief to central government pensioners amid the Covid-19 pandemic, the date for submission of life certificate has been extended up to February 28 next year, Union Minister Jitendra Singh said on Sunday.
"This decision has been taken considering all the sensitivities to avoid pandemic risk emanating from the gathering of crowds at the pension disbursing banks," said Singh, the Minister of State for Personnel.
In addition to this, he said, the pensioners above the age of 80 years were given an exclusive window from October 1 onward to submit their life certificate so as to avoid a rush likely to happen from the opening date of November 1.
Singh said that while the annual life certificate is mandatory for the continuation of pension, the Department of Pension and Pensioners' Welfare (DoPPW) recently took an innovative decision to rope in Indian Post Payments Bank (IPPB) to facilitate digital life certificate (DLC).
IPPB, he informed, is now helping collect the digital life certificate from houses of pensioners through 1.89 lakh postmen and gramin dak sewaks.
"This has come as a great comfort to pensioners, especially those residing in rural areas," the minister said.
The Department of Pension and Pensioners' Welfare has also started a campaign to extend support to the aged or infirmed pensioners in submission of life certificate digitally from home, he said.
"Other modes of submitting the life certificate from home such as by attaching the biometric device to a personal computer or mobile are also in operation,” Singh said.
He said the department also noted certain inconveniences being experienced by senior citizens on account of changing biometrics due to age.
"To overcome this age-related scientific hazard, all the pension disbursing banks have been advised to adopt video-based customer identification process (V-CIP) as an additional facility for obtaining life certificate from the pensioners, within the permissible RBI guidelines,” Singh said.
He said the DoPPW is on the verge of introducing the face-recognition technology to submit digital life certificate through a simple Android phone without attaching any biometric device.
Using this facility, Singh said, it would be possible to establish the identity of a person through the face-recognition technique.