Racing against time to make the ambitious Direct Benefits Transfer (DBT) visibly effective before the 2014 general elections, the government will bring money transaction through post offices under the DBT ambit. This desperate move is aimed as a remedy to banks opening accounts of DBT beneficiaries at snail’s pace.
Ahead of the Prime Minister’s review meeting with key ministers, the government announced that post offices will also be included from October 1 while three pension schemes — for old age persons, widows and the disabled — would now be covered under DBT from July 1.
The list would also include districts where the beneficiaries’ biometrics were collected under the National Population Register (NPR). They include Odisha, West Bengal, UP, Uttarakhand, Bihar and Chhattisgarh.
Several complaints had poured in after the scheme was launched from January 1 about the problems of the banks to open zero-balance accounts of the beneficiaries, especially in rural areas.
The government also targets to expand the DBT to cover 78 more districts in the next phase of the DBT rollout which will begin from July 1.
To plug the loopholes, PM’s focus will be on digitisation of databases and opening of more bank accounts. “There will be a thrust on digitisation of data of beneficiaries in all districts, irrespective of the rollout of DBT as this is a critical activity which need not wait and can be done in parallel,” said a press release.
“The department of financial services will be asked to ensure coverage of all beneficiaries with bank accounts. It will ensure that all Micro-ATMs that are procured will have specifications such that they are inter-operable and are Aadhaar enabled,” the release added.