One Nation One Ombudsman

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : Apr 20, 2022, 13:33

On November 12, 2021, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the RBI's new complaint mechanism, the Integrated Ombudsman System. The Reserve Bank Integrated Ombudsman Scheme (RBIOS) aims to quickly track and resolve customer complaints against central bank-regulated entities.

One Nation One Ombudsman Scheme

The RBIOS theme is based on "One Nation One Ombudsman" and has one portal, one email address, and one address for customer complaints. The RBIOS aims to provide a solution to customer complaints related to services provided by all entities regulated by RBI in a fast and cost-effective manner.

The integrated ombudsman system 2021 integrates RBI's three existing ombudsman systems:

  • Banking Ombudsman Scheme, 2006
  • Nonbank Financial Institution (NBFC) Ombudsman Scheme, 2018
  • Digital Transaction Ombudsman Scheme, 2019

These three ombudsman schemes covered banking, NBFC, and digital transactions are integrated and also include unplanned primary co-operative banks with deposits of Rs 5 billion or more. This scheme follows a "One Nation One Ombudsman" approach by neutralizing the jurisdiction of the RBI ombudsman mechanism.

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One Nation One Ombudsman - One Portal, Email, and Address

This initiative is based on giving a resolution to customer complaints under one framework comprising a single portal, email, and customer address.

  • Complaints as part of the online system are registered on the portal.
  • Physical formats, including electronic mode complaints, can be emailed.
  • For all kinds of postal and hand-held complaints, they should be addressed to that location and sent to a place where there is a centralized approval and processing centre of the reserve bank.
  • For testing and initial processing, RBI has set up a centre in Chandigarh, for the centralized and handling centres for receiving, and initial working of postal, physical, and email complaints (RBI, 4th floor, sector 17, CHANDIGARH-160017
  • In addition, a contact centre with a toll-free number is also provided - 14448 (where you can call between 9: 30-17: 15). The mode of communication can be in Hindi, English, and 8 regional languages (Bengal, Telugu, Kannada, Marathi, Gujarati, Malayalam, Odia, Tamil), and due course, it plans to expand to cover other Indian languages.

The contact centre provides information/explanations about RBI's alternative grievance mechanism and guides the complainant when filing a complaint.

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One Nation One Ombudsman - Regulated Entity

According to the RBI, the complainant no longer needs to follow a particular scheme or a system for filing a complaint with the ombudsman. Traditionally, some regulators (REs) required consumers to follow the rule and only file complaints with the correct domain, stream, scheme, and follow the correct system.

The complaint had to be filed with the correct ombudsman under the jurisdiction of the region in connection with the branch of RE that filed the complaint. If you do not submit it, your complaint would be rejected.

For example, some of the complaints were dismissed as unresolvable, mainly for the following reasons:

  • Out of Jurisdiction
  • First Resort Complaints (FRC) which were made directly to the Ombudsman without first contacting the bank or the relevant RE.
  • Not displayed correctly

With the above-mentioned reasons for rejection and non-adherence to providing resolutions to consumers, the Government has launched the One Nation One Ombudsman to address the issues by consolidating all REs into one system for all complaints.

One Nation One Ombudsman - Defective Services

The integrated system defines "lack of service" as the reason for complaining about a particular exclusion list. Therefore, complaints will no longer be dismissed solely based on "reasons for non-regulation". Previously, one of the main concerns was that there was no substantive basis for consumers to challenge the ombudsman regarding the behaviour of regulators or to reject complaints about technical reasons.

To conclude, a committee established by the RBI to review existing ombudsman systems was recommended for transparency and consumer awareness. To achieve this, and to eradicate the "negative" or "excluded" list for rejecting the complaint, the Government launched the One Nation One Ombudsman system as the current integrated system to address this problem by providing a broader definition of the lack of services.

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FAQs on One Nation One Ombudsman

Q.1. What is an ombudsman in One Nation One Ombudsman?

An ombudsman is an official person, representative, or department that deals with complaints filed by citizens against public authorities. This concept comes from Sweden. This means an official appointed by the legislature to deal with a complaint and in India, the government has appointed an ombudsman - One Nation One Ombudsman to resolve complaints in the following areas:

  1. Insurance ombudsman
  2. Income tax ombudsman
  3. Bank Ombudsman

Q.2. Is there any restriction to filing for disputes under the One Nation One Ombudsman?

There are no restrictions on the disputes filed in the One Nation One Ombudsman. There is no limit to the number of disputes that can be filed before the ombudsman that the ombudsman can make a ruling. However, the Ombudsman will indemnify the claimant for up to Rs 200,000 for the loss of time, costs incurred, and the harassment / mental distress suffered by the claimant, as well as the consequential damage suffered by the claimant.

Q.3. What is the time and cost it takes to resolve complaints under the One Nation One Ombudsman?

The TAT is 30 days and it is free of cost, to resolve complaints under the One Nation One Ombudsman.

Q.4. With regards to the One Nation One Ombudsman, what is the solution if the problem remains unresolved from the financial institution's end?

With regards to the One Nation One Ombudsman, if the financial institution does not process the complaint within 30 days, the customer can escalate the complaint to the ombudsman. If you are not satisfied with the solution you provide or the financial institution's explanation, you can still contact the ombudsman.