A pensioner registering her thumb impression on a biometric device in Ludhiana on Sunday.(HT Photo)
A pensioner registering her thumb impression on a biometric device in Ludhiana on Sunday.(HT Photo)

Pension at doorstep: Anxious of Covid infection, beneficiaries in Ludhiana turning away postmen

Beneficiaries denying thumb impression for biometric verification after the department started door-to-door distribution of pension in the first week of April
Hindustan Times, Ludhiana | By Harvinder Kaur, Ludhiana
UPDATED ON APR 26, 2020 11:07 PM IST

Despite the department of posts taking precautions while delivering pension at doorsteps, beneficiaries in the district are refusing to give their thumb impressions for biometric verification to avoid catching coronavirus infection.

Postmen in different areas of the district have complained to the department that pensioners instead wish to withdraw the cash from ATMs and turn them away.

Thumb impression is requisite for verifying the authenticity of a beneficiary before making the transaction through Aadhaar Enabled Payment System (AEPS). AEPS is a system developed by the National Payments Corporation of India that allows people to carry out financial transactions on a micro-ATM by furnishing their Aadhaar number and verifying it with the help of their fingerprint/iris scan.

Karamjit Singh, a postman working with Focal Point branch, said, “Many pensioners have told me they will withdraw the amount from their bank ATMs. Some have already withdrawn their pensions, and since we don’t have the calibrated data, we still need to visit every house.”

“We use the masks and sanitisers provided to us by the department during our field visits, but it’s the beneficiaries’ will if they want to avail of our services or not,” he said.

The department had started door-to-door distribution of pension in the first week of April to avoid financial difficulties to pensioners.

A banner designed by the department of posts acknowledging the efforts of postal workers during the coronavirus lockdown. (HT)
A banner designed by the department of posts acknowledging the efforts of postal workers during the coronavirus lockdown. (HT)

UNNECESSARY QUERIES BURDENING SERVER

The residents are also inquiring about their bank balance, putting extra burden on the postal department servers.

There are around 2.13 lakh pension beneficiaries in the district. Last month, the department had issued helpline number 0161-2772488 for people who wish to get their money from the bank accounts at their doorsteps. The requested amount, however, cannot exceed Rs 10,000 at once.

Last month, the postal department had issued helpline number 0161-2772488 for people who wish to get their money from the bank accounts at their doorsteps. The requested amount, however, cannot exceed Rs 10,000 at once. (HT)
Last month, the postal department had issued helpline number 0161-2772488 for people who wish to get their money from the bank accounts at their doorsteps. The requested amount, however, cannot exceed Rs 10,000 at once. (HT)

OTHER DOOR-TO-DOOR SERVICES

Meanwhile, the postal department is also delivering cash, medicine parcels, registered posts and essential items to the residents.

Ludhiana senior superintendent of post office Amanpreet Singh said, “While the department is dedicated to the service of the masses in these difficult times, we request people to avoid calling about their balance, since it burdens the server used across the nation,” he said.

“This leads to various kinds of technical glitches, delaying transactions. We have issued similar instructions to our postmen,” he added.

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