SPARSH is a web-based pension processing system launched in 2020 in phases for the three wings of the armed forces and defense civilians. A Sparsh Life Certificate is required for the Sparsh Pension Portal for the pension sanction and payment needs of the Armed Forces. It processes the pension claims and credits the amount directly into the beneficiary’s bank account without any external intermediary.
According to the defense ministry, SPARSH has disbursed more than Rs 11,600 crore in FY2021-22, from just about Rs 57 crore in FY2020-21. As of September 2022, there were around 32 lakh defense pensioners in the country, of which over half were expected to be brought under the SPARSH system in the same year as part of the government’s initiative to provide a comprehensive solution to defense pensioners under a single platform.
How Does the SPARSH Defence Pension Portal Work?
SPARSH, or the System for Pension Administration Raksha, provides defense pensioners with complete information on their pension account, including entitlements, from the date of commencement of pension to the date of cessation through its portal, administered by the Defence Accounts Department (DAD) under the Principal Controller of Defence Accounts (Pensions). After being initially rolled out to new retirees, it was extended to all defense pensioners drawing pensions through bank branches and other pension disbursing agencies.
The old pensioners were migrated to SPARSH in a phased manner to prevent the need to audit payment vouchers generated by scores of bank branches responsible for disbursing monthly pensions to retired service members across the country.
Under the SPARSH initiative, DAD has onboarded public and private-sector banks, such as Bank of Baroda, State Bank of India, Punjab National Bank, HDFC Bank, and India Post Payments Bank for pension administration across India. Besides over 160 DAD offices, the bank branches act as SPARSH interfaces, allowing pensioners to update profiles, register grievances, generate life certificates, verify data, get monthly pension information, etc.
How To Submit A Life Certificate On SPARSH
To access the SPARSH portal, the pensioners must create a login credential using their Aadhar number, the registered mobile number in Aadhar, and the pension account number. They will receive the login details on their registered mobile phone numbers. They can submit the life certificate or the Jeevan Pramaan Patra manually or digitally.
Submit It Manually
To submit it manually, you must download the manual life certificate (MLC) form from the website after logging in to your account. You will then need to fill it out and get it signed by a first-class gazetted officer. After that, you must scan and upload the form on the SPARSH website. The file must be in a PDF format and less than 10 MB. After SPARSH approves it, the
status bar will reflect the MLC with the next due date. Usually, the life certificate will be expected in the same month as last year, not bound by November every year.
Submit It Digitally
The pensioner can generate a DLC in two ways: through a biometric device, like a finger scanner attached to a computer, laptop, or phone, or a mobile device with a face recognition application.
Requirements to complete the process through a mobile face recognition application:
- 1: You must have an Android smartphone version 7, with a 5-megapixel camera and 4 GB RAM, and the Aadhaar number registered with the pension disbursing agency (PDA).
- Step 2: Download and install the “AadhaarFaceRD” and the Jeevan Pramaan Face applications from the Google Play Store.
- Step 3: Complete the operator authentication process through face recognition.
- Step 4: Complete the pensioner’s authentication process, which is the same as the operator.
- Operator Authentication
The Jeevan Pramaan app requires operator authentication. The mobile holder can be the operator himself. Enter the information needed after opening the app, like Aadhar number, email ID, mobile number, etc. Verification will be carried out through an OPT sent via email. After that, it will ask for a photo scan of the operator. Scan your photo and follow the instructions. If everything goes right, the operator will be authenticated.
After the operator’s authentication, a new page will open in the application for the pensioner’s authentication. The operator himself can be the pensioner. The procedure is the same as the operators’ authentication. Enter the Aadhaar no, mobile no, email address, and name. The authentication will be completed through an OTP. Then, follow the appropriate action through the App’s dropdown menu. The pensioner must input the following: Type of pension, service sanctioning authority, disbursing agency, pension payment order or the PPO number, a unique 12-digit number designated to every pensioner, and the bank account number.
After this, a face scan is required. Upon completing the process, you will receive a message stating that DLC has been completed and a Pramaan ID will be generated. Keep the ID safe for downloading the life certificate. The operator can also generate DLC for other pensioners from the same app. After 1-2 days, the DLC will be updated in the SPARSH account.
About Life Certificate
Retired employees of the central and state governments, state-run organizations, and defense personnel must submit a life certificate to receive regular pensions. In 2014, the Modi government made the process online for their convenience.
Pensioners can generate a digital life certificate from their homes using their Aadhaar number, biometrics, and face recognition methods instead of physically submitting it to disbursing agencies. Each DLC has a unique “Pramaan ID” to identify the beneficiary, which reduces the chances of error. According to the Jeevan Pramaan website, some 50 lakh central government pensioners and an equal number of government pensioners in the states and UTs receive pensions. These figures may vary as the site’s last update could not be ascertained immediately.
Alternative to Old Cumbersome Process
The old arrangement required the beneficiary’s physical verification, which was cumbersome due to their age. It was also a huge logistical hurdle for those who moved to a different city or state and have not transferred their accounts. In contrast, the new process is fast and convenient.
DLC is accepted as a valid life certificate under the provisions of the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act, 2016. However, pensioners can still submit the life certificate in a physical form.