The Reserve Bank on Tuesday proposed that unclaimed bank deposits, estimated at over Rs 3,500 crore (Rs 35 billion), be utilised for education and awareness of depositors.
As per the proposal, the banking sector deposits which have not been claimed for 10 years or more will be transfered to 'Depositor Education and Awareness Fund Scheme'.
"The Fund will be created by taking over inoperative deposit accounts which have not been claimed or operated for a period of ten years or more or any deposit or any amount remaining unclaimed for more than 10 years. . .," said the draft proposal on which comments have been sought by RBI.
As per an estimate, banks have as much as Rs 3,652 crore (Rs 36.52 billion) of unclaimed deposits lying with them, with the State Bank of India alone accounting for about 15 per cent of that.
The draft further said that there would be a provision for reclaiming the amount so appropriated by the Fund.
"The bank would be liable to pay the deposit amount to the depositor and claim refund of such amount from the Fund," it added.
The Fund, the draft said, would be utilised for promotion of depositors' interest and for such other purposes which may be necessary for the promotion of depositors' interests as specified by the RBI.
The Fund will be managed by a Committee of 11 members under an RBI deputy governor, who will be the ex-officio chairperson of the Committee.
Members of public, banks, academia, industry and other stakeholders can give comments on the scheme to the RBI by February 5.