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Reserve Bank – Integrated Ombudsman Scheme (RB-IOS)


  • An ombudsman is an official of the government who deals with complaints made by ordinary citizens against public organizations. This concept originated in Sweden.
  • It refers to an officer appointed by the Legislature to handle complaints against a service or administrative authority.
  • Need for an ombudsman in an organisation:
    • Address concerns: Ombudsman gives an opportunity for the public to express their grievances against an organisation. This feedback will help in improving service to the public.
    • Impartial working: Ombudsman works in an impartial, confidential and independent manner. They function independently without the influence of the organisation.
    • Avoid duplication of work: The ombudsman can carry out a single investigation into multiple complaints about the same topic, which avoids duplication and excessive cost.
    • Streamlining complaints: Ombudsman will establish a procedure for taking and resolving complaints from the public.


The Integrated Ombudsman Scheme of the RBI


  • The Reserve Bank – Integrated Ombudsman Scheme (RB-IOS) was launched in November 2021 after integrating three erstwhile ombudsman schemes of RBI.
  • These included the Banking Ombudsman Scheme, 2006; the Ombudsman Scheme for Non-Banking Financial Companies, 2018; and the Ombudsman Scheme for Digital Transactions, 2019.
  • The scheme will also bring under its ambit Non-Scheduled Primary Co-operative Banks with a deposit size of Rs 50 crore and above.


RBI framed the scheme by exercising powers under:

  • Section 35A of the Banking Regulation Act, 1949 (10 of 1949)
  • Section 45L of the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934 (2 of 1934)
  • Section 18 of the Payment and Settlement Systems Act, 2007 (51 of 2007)


  • The scheme will provide cost-free redressal of customer complaints involving deficiency in services provided by entities regulated by RBI, which have not been resolved within a period of 30 days by the regulated entity.

Appellate Authority

  • Executive Director-in charge of Consumer Education and Protection Department of RBI.

Filing Complaints Under the Scheme

  • Visiting the website
  • Through a dedicated email id
  • Physical application directed to ‘Centralized Receipt and Processing Centre’ in Chandigarh
  • Contacting a dedicated toll-free number

Features of the Scheme

  • Category neutral: Complainant need not identify under which scheme he/she should file complaint with the Ombudsman.
  • Narrowing grounds for rejection:  ‘Deficiency in service’ has been provided as the ground for filing a complaint, with a specified list of exclusions. Hence, complaints would no longer be rejected simply on account of “not covered under the grounds listed in the scheme”.
  • Jurisdiction neutral: The scheme operates on a ‘One Nation One Ombudsman’ approach, making it jurisdiction neutral.
  • Usage of technology: RBI will make use of Artificial Intelligence tools so that regulated entities and investigating agencies could coordinate in a better way in the fastest time possible.
  • Representing regulated entity: The Principal Nodal Officer in the rank of a General Manager in a Public Sector Bank or equivalent will be responsible for representing the Regulated Entity and furnishing information in respect of complaints filed by customers.
  • Single email id: Customers can file complaints, submit documents, track status, and give feedback through a single email address.
  • Right to appeal: Regulated entity will not have the right to appeal against the order in cases where the ombudsman has ruled against it for not furnishing satisfactory and timely information/documents.

Significance of the Scheme

  • Customer satisfaction: The ombudsman scheme is expected to enhance grievance redressal mechanism against RBI’s regulated entities and improve customer satisfaction.
  • Uniform standards: The scheme will ensure uniformity and streamline user-friendly mechanisms across the country.
  • Easy access to services: The integrated platform allows for easy lodging and tracking of complaints by customers. This will benefit bank customers from rural areas.

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Who is an ombudsman?

An ombudsman is an official of the government who deals with complaints made by ordinary citizens against public organizations.

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