Unaware, banks make disabled suffer

Azhar Mahmood (name changed) from Ludhiana (Punjab) reached the Eyeway Helpdesk. He is 30 years old. He was partially blind by birth and later on became totally blind. He first got in touch with Eyeway on Sep 2016 and conveyed to the counselor that he got to know about the Helpdesk after listening to a radio programme Eyeway Yeh Hai Roshni Ka Karawan. As a child, he faced problems in his studies and later joined a special school to study Braille. After passing higher secondary, he got a government job in Grade D in Panchayati Raj Department which was five years ago. Azhar being a very industrious individual continued his studies further even with the job.  He completed his graduation and now he is pursuing his post-graduation.

A few months back he got in touch with us for some queries. He told us that he had a savings account in State Bank of India, Samrala branch, Ludhiana. Bank denying him a checkbook was his issue for which he was seeking redressal. Eyeway counselor provided him the RBI Circular which clearly states that ” Banking facilities including cheque book facility/operation of ATM/locker etc. cannot be denied to the visually challenged as they are legally competent to contract”. Also, the Banking Ombudsman Scheme, 2006 (amended 2017) assures provision for filing complaints and redressal of it. This is not one among the few cases but one among the multitude of banking services deprivation issues faced by visually impaired on a daily basis though these are clearly framed in the rule books as violations. These must be treated clearly as cases of ignorance and these banks must be educated that they are the debtors and their clients are the creditors and morally clients deserve a higher ground.

On follow-up, it was understood that he could resolve his banking problem by putting the RBI circular to effective use.