Thiruvananthapuram: The Kerala Government has included the newly formed Kerala Bank in the list of organisations on behalf of which the village officers are empowered to undertake revenue recovery proceeding to collect dues. A notification effecting changes in the Kerala Revenue Recovery Act to this effect has been issued by the State Government.
All banks coming under the Kerala Bank, except the Malappuram District Cooperative Bank, would come under the ambit of the new notification.
As per the 1968 Act, public commercial banks had been included in the list from time to time. But now the State Government has issued a notification entrusting the village officers with conducting revenue recovery for 132 establishments, including KSRTC and State Civil Supplies Corporation.
Even though the Act is mainly aimed at collecting government dues, as per Section 71, a notification can be issued for collecting the dues owed to public enterprises or non-governmental organisations or individuals. If the dues collected is Rs 5 lakh, the government gets 5 percent as collection charge. If the dues collected is more than Rs 5 lakh, the collection charge will be 7.5 per cent.
The Revenue recovery procedure
As per the Revenue Recovery Act, it is the responsibility of each District Collector, Tahisildar and the village officer to collect dues from defaulters through attachment proceedings. The District Collector sends the request for revenue recovery proceedings, forwarded by the bank manager, to the village officer for action. The village officer, in turn, will conduct revenue recovery proceedings, collect dues and remit it to the bank account.
Staff crunch hits village offices
As per the assessment of the Revenue Department, 10 lakh new recovery cases will come to village offices from the Kerala Bank. But the problem is that there are only a maximum of five staff in each village office. They will be overburdened with the work once being given this additional responsibility. There are apprehensions that this may cause inconvenience to the public in getting on time various certificates and other services from village offices.