One Nation, One Ombudsman: The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Friday, February 5, announced it will be integrating consumer grievances redressal under a single ombudsman as against the three schemes working at present. “To make the alternate dispute redress mechanism simpler and more responsive to the customers of regulated entities, it has been decided to implement, inter alia, integration of the three Ombudsman schemes and adoption of the ‘One Nation One Ombudsman’ approach for grievance redressal,” said RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das.
According to RBI, presently, the framework for alternate dispute resolution consists of three separate ombudsman schemes for banks, NBFCs, and non-bank prepaid payment issuers (PPIs). These three schemes are operated by the RBI from twenty-two ombudsman offices located across the country. To make the Ombudsman mechanism simpler, and more responsive, the central bank decided to integrate the three Ombudsman schemes and introduce a centralised processing of grievances following a ‘One Nation One Ombudsman’ approach.
The move is intended to make the process of redress of grievances easier by enabling the customers to register their complaints under the integrated scheme, with one centralised reference point. The integrated ombudsman scheme will be rolled out in June 2021, according to the central bank.
“In line with the global initiatives on consumer protection, RBI has taken various initiatives to strengthen Grievance Redress Mechanism of regulated entities,” Mr Das added. The RBI had operationalised complaint management system (CMS) portal as one-stop solution for alternate dispute resolution of customer complaints not resolved satisfactorily by the regulated entities.
”With the rise in digital adoption by the customers, especially by the younger generation, it has become of utmost importance to have a 24/7 helpline. In the current situation, customers don’t have much choice in raising any issues that may arise while transacting digitally. Most of the applications offer only email or chat options, which may not be convenient to many. The helpline will give users confidence and lead to a rise in the adoption of digital payments,” said Mandar Agashe, Founder & MD, Sarvatra Technologies.