A total of ₹90,820 crore is lying unclaimed in various bank accounts, Provident Fund accounts, inactive mutual funds, LIC policies, matured fixed deposits as well as unclaimed dividends as of December 2020.
Out of the total ₹90,820 crore, unclaimed PF accounts alone amount to ₹24,497 crore and the amount lying unclaimed in bank accounts is ₹24,356 crore as per data released by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
Apart from this, a total of ₹17,880 crore is lying in accounts that are inactive in various mutual funds. In LIC, a total of ₹15,167 crore is lying after the policyholders did not claim it.
According to RBI, the total unclaimed amount lying in bank accounts has increased by ₹5,977 crore in 2020 compared to 2019.
RBI has advised banks to play a more proactive role in finding the whereabouts of the account holders of unclaimed deposits/ inoperative accounts.
In pursuant to the amendment of the Banking Regulation Act, 1949, and insertion of section 26(A), RBI has framed the Depositor Education and Awareness Fund Scheme, 2014. The scheme has already been notified vide Gazette Notification dated 24.5.2014.
As per the scheme, the Fund is utilized for the promotion of depositors’ interests and for such other purposes which may be necessary for the promotion of depositors’ interest as may be specified by RBI.
In terms of accounts, a total of 8,13,34,849 are lying unclaimed in public sector banks, private banks, foreign banks, regional rural banks and other banks.
An account is considered dormant or inoperative if there has been no transaction (apart from the interest credited or maintenance fees charged) for a period of two years. The bank is required to contact the customer via e-mail or phone about this.
All such money is transferred to RBI’s DEAF every month. According to the RBI regulations, if a bank account remains inoperative for a period of 10 years, the money can be transferred to DEAF.
Unclaimed deposits include such funds in current and savings accounts, fixed deposits, and other deposits (like recurring deposits, pay orders, etc) with banks.
According to bank and PF officials, many accounts are lying unclaimed as the bank account holder would have died without mentioning any nomination.
“In many cases, the family members of an account holder in banks or PF are not aware that such an account was there. Many were surprised to know that a few thousands or lakhs are in the account of a family head after he passed away,” said a bank official.
As per the RBI regulations, every bank uploads details of unclaimed accounts on the bank’s website. After checking the details on the website, an account holder or a family member of the account holder can visit the bank branch with a duly filled claim form, receipts of the deposits and know your customer (KYC) documents to claim the money.