What is SPARSH initiative by Defence Ministry?

Why in News? The Defence Accounts Department signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Bank of Baroda and HDFC Bank, to onboard them as Service Centres under the System for Pension Administration (Raksha) (SPARSH) initiative, across more than 14,000 branches throughout India.

What is SPARSH initiative?

It is an integrated system for automation of sanction and disbursement of defence pension. This web-based system processes pension claims and credits pension directly into the bank accounts of defence pensioners without relying on any external intermediary.

A Pensioner Portal is available for pensioners to view their pension related information, access services and register complaints, if any. The system is administered by DAD, and caters to all the three Services and allied organisation.

SPARSH aims for establishment of Service Centres to provide last mile connectivity to pensioners who may be unable to directly access the SPARSH portal. The two largest banks dealing with defence pensioners – State Bank of India (SBI) and Punjab National Bank (PNB) were co-opted as Service Centres.