The Reserve Bank of India today announced a ‘100 Days 100 Pays’ campaign for banks to trace and settle the top 100 unclaimed deposits of every bank in every district of the country within 100 days.
‘ This measure will complement the ongoing efforts and initiatives by the Reserve Bank to reduce the quantum of unclaimed deposits in the banking system and return such deposits to their rightful owners/ claimants’ the circular said.
The balances held in savings / current accounts of banks which are not operated for 10 years, or term deposits not claimed within 10 years from the date of maturity are classified as “Unclaimed Deposits”.
Section 26 of the Banking Regulation Act, 1949 provides, inter alia, that every banking company shall, within 30 days after the close of each calendar year submit a return in the prescribed form and manner to the Reserve Bank of India as at the end of each calendar year (i.e., 31st December) of all accounts in India which have not been operated upon for 10 years. Banks have to move the unclaimed money lying in their inoperative accounts to RBI’s Depositors Education and Awareness (DEA) Fund. According to the regulations, the account depositors or their legal heirs can claim the money at any time by simply furnishing the necessary documents to the bank.
The money so received by RBI on account of unclaimed deposits invested in instruments such as government securities by a committee set up by the RBI. The income thus earned is used for paying interest on the deposits as well as using it for investor awareness and education purposes. RBI pays interest on the deposited amount, which it keeps revising from time to time.
About Rs 35,000 crore unclaimed deposits as of February 2023 were transferred to RBI by public sector banks (PSBs) in respect of deposits that were not operated for 10 years or more. As per press reports, State Bank of India (SBI) tops the chart of unclaimed deposits worth Rs 8,086 crore followed by Punjab National Bank Rs 5,340 crore, Canara Bank Rs 4,558 crore, and Bank of Baroda Rs 3,904 crore.
On the second aspect, banks display the list of unclaimed deposits on their website. In order to improve and widen the access of depositors/beneficiaries to such data, RBI has developed a centralized web portal to enable search across multiple banks for possible unclaimed deposits based on user inputs. The search results will be enhanced by the use of certain AI tools.
The banks will commence the campaign on June 01, 2023.