The state government has planned to add six more districts to the Aadhaar-linked Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) project, but the scheme is already facing problems in the form of officers with vested interests and bogus bank account holders, officials said.
The government will add the Aurangabad, Latur, Jalna, Gondia, Jalgaon and Ratnagiri districts to the DBT project, which was launched earlier this year in six other districts as part of the first phase. Through it, various schemes meant for the poor were made available through Aadhaar-based bank accounts. But this has meant that frauds have started to come to the fore in big numbers, with the nodal agency claiming that nearly 5% of the bank accounts of the beneficiaries of the various schemes were bogus in the six districts the scheme was originally started in.
“We had 3.20 lakh beneficiaries under various schemes including post- and pre-matric scholarships and the Sanjay Gandhi pension scheme in the six districts where the project was launched in January this year. Ninety per cent of the beneficiaries are from the social justice department as most of the scholarships to the SC/ST/OBC students are distributed through it,” said a Mantralaya official. “However the department could generate Aadhaar-linked bank accounts of only 1 lakh students. We suspect that officials are wary as they have vested interests in the money, and are thus dilly-dallying the implementation.”
Nearly 5,000 beneficiaries of 18,000 under Sanjay Gandhi pension scheme, through which elderly persons get a monthly pension, did not turn up to claim the amount when the Aurangabad district collector made Aadhaar compulsory a few months ago. Nearly Rs7 crore was left in the government treasury as the beneficiaries were automatically excluded from claiming a monthly pension of Rs 600 for years.
“There was a similar case in Wardha where hundreds of bogus scholarships claimants have been struck off," the official said. “Since 80% of the scholarship amount is credited to the account of the educational institute, the institutes with political influence are pressing for a delay in the implementation.”