The government informed the Lok Sabha on Monday that banks and insurance companies hold over Rs 32,000 crore as unclaimed deposits. In 2018, commercial banks accumulated Rs 14,578 crore as unclaimed deposits, a 26.8 percent jump from 11,494 crore in the year before. Life and general insurance players collectively hold 17,887 crore as unclaimed deposits since September 2018, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said in a written reply.
In the banking space, the State Bank of India (SBI) has Rs 2,156.33 crore as unclaimed deposits at the end of 2018 while Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) holds Rs 12,892 crore.
"As far as unclaimed deposits in banks are concerned, in pursuance of the amendment to the Banking Regulation Act, 1949, and insertion of Section 26A in the said Act, RBI has framed the Depositor Education and Awareness Fund (DEAF) Scheme, 2014," she further said.
In terms of the scheme, banks calculate the cumulative balances in all accounts which are not operated upon for a period of 10 years or more (or any amount remaining unclaimed for 10 years or more) along with interest accrued and transfer such amounts to the DEAF.
In case of demand from a customer whose unclaimed deposit had been transferred to the DEAF, she said, banks are required to repay the customer, along with interest if any, and lodge a claim for refund from the DEAF.