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Monday, June 6, 2016

Savings agents stung by core banking

: Women agents of the National Savings Scheme in the State are a troubled lot. The reason: core banking system introduced in post offices.
For the past few months, more often that not, when the agents reach post offices, they are told by the staff that the Internet is not working, leaving them unable to remit the money collected in time. There are some 25,000 women agents in the State.
They go door-to-door nearly 20 days a month collecting money from their clients. Back home, using their login and password, they give a schedule of their collection, subject to a maximum of Rs.20,000 in one schedule. The next day, they go to the post offices to remit the money collected. As per rules, for accounts set up on or before 15th of a month, the collection has to be remitted on or by 15th, after which a fine of Rs.2 for every Rs.100 is levied.
“People do not always pay us on time. If they pay us on the 14th of month, and we reach the post office on the 15th to remit the money, we may be told that the Net is not working, affecting timely remittance of the collection. We have to pay the fine out of our own pocket,” says National Savings Kerala State Mahila Pradhan Agents’ Association Thiruvananthapuram unit secretary C. Pitchu Ammal.
The agents say they did not face any problem until the core banking system was introduced.
A big risk
“If we are not able to remit the money, we are left with large sums on our hands, which is a risk,” says Deepa B., an agent. “In some post offices, agents have been asked to open savings bank accounts, and transfer the cash they have collected to these,” she says. At times, the schedules sent cannot be accessed. The slash in the monthly income commission and the doing away of the PPF commission are the other issues. The families of most of thewomen agents are entirely dependent on their income.
With attempts to bring the notice to senior postal authorities not yielding any result, the women agents held a dharna in front of the Chief Post Master General Office at PMG early this month.

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