RBI Integrated Ombudsman Scheme 2021

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The Reserve Bank – Integrated Ombudsman Scheme, 2021 (the Scheme) was launched on November 12, 2021, by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi. This Scheme integrates the three existing Ombudsman schemes of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI):

  1. The Banking Ombudsman Scheme, 2006
  2. The Ombudsman Scheme for Non-Banking Financial Companies, 2018
  3. The Ombudsman Scheme for Digital Transactions, 2019

Legal Framework

The Scheme is framed by the RBI under the following acts:

  • Section 35A of the Banking Regulation Act, 1949
  • Section 45L of the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934
  • Section 18 of the Payment and Settlement Systems Act, 2007

Purpose

The Scheme aims to provide cost-free redress for customer complaints involving deficiencies in services rendered by entities regulated by the RBI, if these complaints are not resolved to the satisfaction of the customers or not replied to within 30 days by the regulated entity.

Scope and Coverage

  • Integration: The Scheme integrates the existing three Ombudsman schemes.
  • Inclusion: It now includes Non-Scheduled Primary Co-operative Banks with a deposit size of ₹50 crore and above.
  • One Nation One Ombudsman: The Scheme adopts a jurisdiction-neutral approach, meaning it will no longer be necessary for complainants to identify under which scheme they should file a complaint.

Salient Features

  1. Ground for Complaint: Defines ‘deficiency in service’ as the ground for filing a complaint, with specified exclusions. Complaints will not be rejected simply for not being listed under the grounds of the scheme.
  2. Jurisdiction: The Scheme removes the jurisdictional boundaries of each ombudsman office.
  3. Centralised Processing: A Centralised Receipt and Processing Centre has been set up at RBI, Chandigarh, for the receipt and initial processing of physical and email complaints in any language.
  4. Principal Nodal Officer: The responsibility of representing the Regulated Entity and furnishing information regarding complaints will lie with the Principal Nodal Officer, who will be of the rank of General Manager in a Public Sector Bank or equivalent.
  5. No Right to Appeal: The Regulated Entity will not have the right to appeal if an Award is issued against it by the ombudsman for not providing satisfactory and timely information/documents.
  6. Appellate Authority: The Executive Director in charge of the Consumer Education and Protection Department of the RBI will serve as the Appellate Authority under the Scheme.

Complaint Filing

  • Online: Complaints can be filed online at https://cms.rbi.org.in.
  • Email and Physical Mode: Complaints can also be submitted via dedicated email or sent in physical form to the Centralised Receipt and Processing Centre at Reserve Bank of India, 4th Floor, Sector 17, Chandigarh – 160017.
  • Contact Centre: A toll-free Contact Centre (14448) operates from 9:30 am to 5:15 pm in Hindi, English, and eight regional languages, with plans to expand to other Indian languages. The Contact Centre provides information and clarifications regarding the RBI’s alternate grievance redress mechanism and guides complainants in filing complaints.

The Scheme represents a significant step towards streamlining the complaint resolution process and making it more accessible and efficient for consumers.