From this January, Haryana has started disbursing various social security pensions through direct benefit transfer (DBT) in all 6,756 villages and 81 towns.
Additional chief secretary, social justice and empowerment, Sunil Gulati said following the DBT switchover, about 1.61 lakh ineligible pensioners have been dropped from the disbursement list, resulting in a saving of around `270 crore per annum.
“Earlier, the state was distributing pension through sarpanches in villages and local bodies in towns. There were instances where ineligible persons — migrants and deceased — were drawing the pension. A lot of that has been checked now and close to 6.7% pensioners were automatically eliminated by shifting to the DBT mode,”Gulati said.
Earlier, the state had 23.47 lakh people getting social security remuneration — old age, disability, widow, destitute children, Ladli (for girl child), non-school going mentally challenged children, eunuchs and dwarfs. This number has come down to 21.86 lakh, said the official.
“Haryana is probably the only state where social security pension is disbursed through DBT, under ‘Thari Pension Thare Pass’ project,” said Gulati.
A major challenge was that brick and mortar bank branches existed only in 1,438 villages. The department conducted villagewise mapping. Primary agriculture credit societies (PACS, which have outlets for selling fertilisers and seeds) were roped in. Besides, those banks which were just 1.5 km to 2 km away from the pensioner’s house were chosen. Now, only local bank agents have been involved so that people can easily file complaints. “In rural areas there was significant resistance from the sarpanches but once the gram panchayat elections were announced, we got a window to push the work, which we did,” said Gulati.
There are now eight modes of disbursing the money under DBT, comprising banks in 1,439 villages, post office branches in 816 villages, resident business correspondent agent (BCA) in 988, non-resident BCA in 240, banks near villages in 1,244, branch post offices near villages in 590, additional BCA appointed in 375, sale points of PACS in 804, and common service centre in eight villages. Also, all the accounts have been uploaded on the department’s website.