Direct cash transfer to be rolled out in 20 districts today

The much-hyped direct cash transfer scheme targeted at checking corruption, will be launched in 20 districts on Tuesday. It will not include cash transfer for subsidies to beneficiaries provided on food, fertiliser and kerosene.

Finance minister P Chidambaram, who announced the rollout on Monday, said government has proposed the launch in 43 districts in 16 states. On January 1, 20 of the 43 districts will go “live for direct benefits transfer and initially the cash transfer will be for seven schemes that will be extended to 19 other schemes in a phased manner during 2013.”

“We are proceeding with caution. 20 districts from January 1... All 26 schemes are ready for rollout. On January 1, the seven schemes in which pay out is due in the (20 selected) districts, the money will be transferred through the direct benefit transfer system using UIDAI platform,” he told reporters.

While the cash transfer would begin in 20 districts on Tuesday, in 11 other districts, it would begin on February 1, followed by 12 additional districts beginning March 1. The cash transfer scheme will be extended to all the districts in the country by end of this year (2013).

Chidambaram said subsidies relating to cooking gas (LPG), kerosene, food and fertilisers will not be included in the first phase. “At the moment there is no intention to transfer subsides on food, fertiliser and kerosene through direct benefit transfer. Here, existing system will continue because they are complex issues,” he said.

“Over the next few days or weeks we will aim at 100 per cent penetration of Aadhaar beneficiaries ... Whether there is Aadhaar card is not money will be credited, money will be withdrawn,” he said.

The seven schemes to be taken for direct cash transfer from Tuesday would be pre and post-matric scholarships for scheduled caste students, post-matric scholarship for other backward class and schedule tribe students, beneficiaries of Indira Gandhi Matrutva Sahavata Yojana, Dhanalakshmi scheme and stipend to scheduled caste job seeking trainees, who get coaching cum guidance and vocational training.

Chidambaram also said that in the 43 districts, banks will set up 20 lakh interoperable micro ATMs that will ultimately replace the gadget operated by banking correspondents in rural areas where banks do not have branches. Also, in all the 7,900 bank branches across 43 districts will have ATMs so that the beneficiaries can utilise banking services beyond officer hours.

For those who do not have Aadhaar-linked bank account, Chidambaram said the money would be transferred into their accounts so that they can withdraw it through the business correspondents.

Any glitches in operation of the cash transfer scheme will be rectified, learning from the experience.

krsudhaman@mydigitalfc.com

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