Friday, 25 April 2014

Savings bank: Welfare recipients must have sCards

22 November 2012

Prague, Nov 21 (CTK) - Czech welfare recipients will have to hold electronic social cards (sCards) but they need not use them for payments and withdrawal of benefits, Ceska sporitelna savings bank general director Pavel Kysilka told Czech Radio Wednesday.

The new sCards are operated by Ceska sporitelna that has won a tender for the system. The Labour and Social Affairs Ministry has signed a 12-year contract with the bank.

Kysilka said the savings bank would find a partner by the end of the week that would send the benefits to the recipients via a a money order or secure their home delivery.

However, the clients will probably have to pay for these commercial services, he added.

Kysilka described his preliminary agreement with Prime Minister Petr Necas (Civic Democrats, ODS) on sCards.

Necas said last week he cannot imagine that the use of sCards would be obligatory.

On Tuesday, Necas said the cards would serve as IDs and they would have to be used compulsorily only on suspicion of abuse of welfare payments.

He has preliminarily agreed on it with Kysilka.

It means that social benefits recipients must have sCards, only their "payment functions" will not be obligatory, Kysilka said, commenting on Necas's words.

The state has never questioned the duty of welfare recipients to possess an sCard, he added.

The leftist opposition and trade unions have criticised the cards system and the contract on it. The ombudsman has also raised objections to it.

The National Disability Council (NRZP) and the Iuridicum Remedium association have filed a complaint against former labour and social affairs minister Jaromir Drabek (TOP 09) and his former deputy Vladimir Siska over sCards on suspicion of having unrightfully provided Ceska sporitelna with personal data of the benefit recipients.

The NRZP insists on the voluntary possession and use of the electronic cards.

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