Sunday, June 02, 2013

Death by KYC

Not a day passes without some agency or other asking me for proof of identity and address. My bank recently asked me to submit two sets of KYC forms each with a photograph because I had two accounts with them. I went to Airtel to ask for a micro-SIM card to replace my regular one and they wanted me to provide ID/address proof. One Govt agency wanted separate proofs- one for my ID and one for my address. Copy of passport that provides evidence for both will not do.

I now carry a few photographs of mine in my wallet, and the original driving licence for instant photocopying when such KYC emergencies arise. Yesterday, I was at a branch of SBI where I have my PPF account. I wanted the term to be extended by another 5 years. To my surprise, I was not asked for my ID proof or photograph. As I had carried these anway, I had to insist that they should let me submit them. I heard myself argue that this was my funadamental right and they couldn't deny this to me. This is the kind of paranoid person that the KYC norms has reduced me to. And that’s why this story (source) resonated deeply with me:

An Irishman, unknown to me, presented a check of one of our customers, payable to the order of Pat O’Flaherty. I told him it would be necessary for him to bring some one to identify him. ‘Identify! and what in God’s name is that?’ he answered. I endeavored to explain to him that he must go and bring in some of his friends whom we knew to satisfy us that he was Pat O’Flaherty. ‘All right,’ he said, and started off; but had scarcely gone fifty yards when he returned, and with a knowing twinkle in his eye, called out to me, ‘See here, if I’m not Pat O’Flaherty, who the devil am I?’ This was unanswerable.
I would like to try this out once. When some bank official wants me to submit proof of my identity, I’ll ask him with a straight face, “ See here, if I’m not Raj, who the devil am I?”.


Vaidy said...

Raj, this fits in with the connundrum about how this computerized world has led to increased paper work!

I'd also like to mention an interesting side note. I recently had to renew my US passport and was pleasantly reminded that the form only asked for 1 copy of my photo which had to be stapled to the form. My thoughts went back to 3-4 years ago when I had applied for the Indian POI visa. The Indian govt form required 2 photos and they should not be stapled to the form (if I recall correctly)! Talk about increasing paper work & expense. :)

Raj said...

Vaidy,when you land in India, just ask the chap at Immigration, " If I am not Vaidy, who the devil am I?"