PM launches two-consumer centric RBI initiatives


PM Narendra Modi has launched two consumer-centric RBI (Reserve Bank of India) initiatives- the RBI Retail Direct Scheme and the Reserve Bank-Integrated Ombudsman Scheme.

The schemes will promote financial inclusion by allowing retail investors to participate in the government securities and contribute towards nation-building.

The two innovative schemes will assist in increasing the scope of investment and improve the consumer grievance redressal system.

The RBI Retail Direct Scheme will enable retail investors to invest in government securities and earn guaranteed returns. It will also help the Indian government to collect funds for nation-building.

The Reserve Bank-Integrated Ombudsman Scheme (RB-IOS) will be resolving consumer complaints against the organizations regulated by the RBI. It will help in enhancing the grievance redressal mechanism. The dream of ‘One Nation-One Ombudsman’ has turned into reality after the launch of the scheme.

The RBI Direct Retail Scheme aims at enhancing the accessibility of government securities to small investors. It provides a new avenue for retail investors for direct investments in securities issued by the State and Central government.

The investors will get a platform to maintain their accounts with the RBI through online modes,  free of cost. With the help of technology, RBI created a portal avenue for investors to put their money in treasury bills, government securities, state development loans, and sovereign gold bonds.

The two consumer-centric schemes place India on the list of countries offering similar services.

RB-IOS will look after the jurisdictional limitations. RBI will provide a single platform for the customers to submit documents, track the status of their complaints, and provide feedback.

The Customer Education and Protection Cells (CEPCs), located in 30 regional offices of RBI, will take charge of the complaints that are not under the ombudsman scheme.

There is a rise in the number of complaints against the RBI-regulated entities. It is because of increasing awareness among the people, financial inclusion, and digital penetration.

The complaints increased to 3.30 lakhs in 2019-20 from 1.64 lakhs in 2017-18.

Earlier, RBI had taken various steps to strengthen the customer grievance redressal system by issuing guidelines to nourish Internal Ombudsman, graded supervisory actions, and introduced of Complaints Management System (CMS) in 2019.

Later RBI decided to integrate all the three ombudsmen schemes into one. It led to simplification. It also addresses the deficiency in the system by centralizing the receipt and processing of complaints.

The RBI’s grievance redressal has three schemes- the Banking Ombudsman Scheme (BOS), the Ombudsman Scheme for Non-Banking Financial companies (OS-NBFC), and the Ombudsman Scheme for Digital transformation (OSDT).

The above three schemes were launched in different periods – 1995, 2018, and 2019, respectively. Each ombudsman scheme addressed specific complaints, acting as a limitation. It led to uneven redressal across customers for various entities. Each had a different compensation structure.

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