It is first success for the UPA government’s “game-changer” direct benefit transfer (DBT) scheme with about Rs. 20 crore been transferred directly into their bank accounts through unique identification (UID) payment bridge.
The Central government had decided to launch the electronic cash transfer mechanism from January 1 in 20 districts of the country by transferring money into bank accounts of beneficiaries under seven Central government schemes.
A review of the scheme by the Prime Minister’s Office shows that 60,000 people in these districts have got money directly under DBT through UIDAI payment-bridge since January 1 from the Central government.
It is just tip of an iceberg.
There are about 6.5 lakh beneficiaries in these 20 districts who receive money in form of scholarships and pensions from the government in these schemes.
But, the problem is that only half of the total beneficiaries have both UID or Aadhaar number and bank account --- must to transfer money using UID payment-bridge. Another 39,000 people neither have Aadhaar number or a bank account resulting in DBT starting sluggishly.
Principal secretary to prime Pulak Chatterjee instructed UIDAI officials to speed up enrollment in the pilot districts so that there is 100 % coverage of beneficiaries by end of February 2013. And this would help the government to showcase success of the UPA’s ambitious plan in the budget to be presented by finance minister P Chidambaram.
Secretary planning Sindhushree Khullar at the same meeting pointed out seeding of Aadhaar numbers in the bank accounts of beneficiaries was consuming lot of time, thereby slowing down the DBT implementation. She also said that most of the Central government ministries do not have digitised records of the beneficiaries.
On the positive side, the districts have witnessed faster financial inclusion with around 4.2 lakh beneficiaries now having bank accounts. Also, the banks in these districts have started providing banking services at the door-step through banking correspondents.
The PMO has also directed the ministries to ensure preparedness including working out the details of the architecture on information flow and beneficiary verification before next phase of DBT implementation from March 1, 2013.