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All about the Newly Launched Integrated Ombudsman Scheme (RBI)

Ashish M. Shaji

| Updated: Nov 16, 2021 | Category: News

All about the Newly Launched Integrated Ombudsman Scheme (RBI)

The Indian PM launched the integrated ombudsman scheme recently, which seeks to strengthen the grievance redress mechanism for consumers belonging to different regulated entities like banks, Non-banking Finance Companies and payment system operators. Now one can have a single point of reference to file complaints, track status, submit documents and receive feedback. This article is an effort to apprise all its readers about this newly launched integrated ombudsman scheme (RBI).

What is Integrated Ombudsman Scheme (RBI)?

This scheme amalgamates three ombudsman schemes of the RBI. These schemes are as follows:

  • Banking Ombudsman Scheme of 2006;
  • Ombudsman Scheme for Non-Banking Finance Companies of 2018;
  • Ombudsman Scheme of digital transactions of 2019.

The scheme seeks to help in redressal of consumer complaints involving deficiency in services provided by RBI regulated entities, including banks, NBFCs and pre-paid instrument players, in case the grievance is not resolved to customers’ satisfaction or not replied within 30 days period.

The scheme also includes non-scheduled primary co-operative banks with a 50 crore and above deposit size. This scheme makes it One nation One Ombudsman approach and jurisdiction neutral.

Who is an Ombudsman?

Ombudsman refers to an appellate body which receives customer complaints if the financial institution doesn’t address the complaint within 30 days period. It may be noted that even if customers are not satisfied with the resolution or explanation provided by the financial institution, still they can approach the ombudsman.

Brief History

In 1995 the banking ombudsman scheme was launched thereafter, it has went through 5 revisions and also forms the basis for the launch of the Ombudsman scheme for the NBFCs in 2018 and Ombudsman Scheme for Digital transactions in 2019. The present integrated scheme was made on the basis of the recommendations of the committee set up by the Reserve Bank to review the ombudsman scheme.

An Internal Working Group with 10 members (8 ombudsman, one officer each from the legal and consumer education and protection department) was made to have a detailed review of the Ombudsman Schemes of the RBI. The committee made some recommendations, with one of them being to converge the existing ombudsman schemes into a single integrated RBI Ombudsman Scheme. The three schemes evolved over time and had specific grounds of complaints which acted as a limiting factor and which led to uneven redress across the customers of different entities and comprised of different compensation structures.

In order to increase the transparency and consumer awareness, the committee had suggested to broad base the grounds of complaints and incorporate a detailed negative or exclusions list for rejection of the complaint. 

How will the newly launched Integrated Ombudsman Scheme (RBI) work?

The central theme of this scheme is based on One Nation-One Ombudsman. The executive director in charge of consumer education and protection department of the Reserve Bank will be the appellate authority under this scheme. It will have a portal, an email ID and one address for customers to lodge their complaints. This scheme has removed the need for jurisdiction of each ombudsman office. This scheme is jurisdiction neutral. Further, a centralized receipt as well as a processing centre has been set up in Chandigarh for handling of complaints in any language.

The responsibility of representing the regulated entity and providing the information relating to the complaints filed by customers against the regulated entity will be of the principal nodal officer in the rank of a General Manager in Public Sector Bank or equivalent. The regulated entity shall not have the right of appeal in case where an award is issued by the ombudsman against it for failure to furnish a satisfactory and timely information or document.

Moreover, a multi-lingual number shall provide relevant information on grievance redress and assistance for filing of complaints.

How to file a complaint with the Ombudsman?

You can file a complaint with the Ombudsman by these ways:

  • Visit the website to file a complaint online- https://cms.rbi.org.in
  • One can also send their complaint through the email to this mail ID- CRPC@rbi.org.in
  • In case you wish to send the complaint in physical, you can address it to the following address- Centralized Receipt and Processing Centre at RBI, 4th Floor, Sec-17, Chandigarh- 160017 in the format provided as annex at the following link- https://rbidocs.rbi.org.in/rdocs/content/pdfs/RBIOS2021_121121.pdf
  • Additionally, a contact centre is also being operationalised with a toll-free number to provide information/clarifications about the grievance redress mechanism of RBI and to guide those filing complaints.

What are the benefits of this scheme?

The benefits of this scheme are laid down below:

  • It will help remove jurisdictional limitations;
  • It will provide single reference point for customers to track the status of the complaints, submit documents etc.;
  • It has set up a centralized receipt and processing centre to handle all complaint receipts. It will help India to move forward with the approach of One Nation-One Jurisdiction.

Conclusion

No more you have to chase different institutions regulated by the RBI to resolve your financial grievance as now you will have a single point of reference to file complaints, track status, submit documents and receive feedback. The Integrated Ombudsman Scheme (RBI) seeks to provide cost-free redress of customer complaints with deficiency in services by entities regulated by the RBI, if not resolved to the satisfaction of customers within a period of 30 days.

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Ashish M. Shaji

Ashish M. Shaji has done his graduation in law (BA. LLB) from CCS University. He has keen interests in doing extensive research and writing on legal subjects especially on corporate law. He is a creative thinker and has a great interest in exploring legal subjects.

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