State mode of benefit transfer proves effective
T. RAMAKRISHNAN, The Hindu
Major difference is that it is not linked to Aadhaar numbers
A beneficiary operating a biometric smart card machine at Samuthiram in Tiruchi on Friday.Collector Jayashree Muralidharan and, Chief Regional Manager, IOB, R. Krishnamurthy (second from right), are in the picture.— PHOTO:R.M. RAJARATHINAM
Even as the Union government gears itself to launch the scheme of direct benefits transfer (DBT) in 51 districts across the country on New Year’s Day, Tamil Nadu, by ensuring the transfer of social security to about 5.63 lakh rural beneficiaries every month in 31 districts, it has shown that its variant of DBT is workable.
The only major difference between the Central scheme and the State government’s is that the transfer is not linked to the beneficiaries having Aadhaar numbers. Otherwise, both appear to be identical.
The beneficiaries of the social security schemes have to open basic savings bank accounts. Every month, business correspondents, appointed by the banks, go to the places of beneficiaries, carrying hand-held point of service (POS) equipment with printers and biometric authentication devices. On confirmation of biometric authentication of the beneficiaries, the pension is disbursed.
Under eight social security schemes including three Central schemes, 29.87 lakh beneficiaries in Tamil Nadu receive monthly pension of Rs. 1,000. Traditionally, they have been receiving the pension through postal money order.
The initial phase focuses on 6.53 lakh beneficiaries in 4,479 villages of 31 districts with the stipulation of covering villages having population of over 2,000.
As on November 30, the coverage was 5.63 lakh beneficiaries in about 4,100 villages. An official of the Revenue department, the implementing agency, says the remaining beneficiaries will be covered shortly.
In the second phase, villages having population in the range of 1,000 to 2,000 will be covered, and the third and final phase pertains to all other villages and urban areas. The present plan of the State government is complete the two phases in six months.
Reports from various districts indicate that the beneficiaries prefer the new mode of payment to the old system.
A senior government official says that the integration of Aadhar/UIDAI data with that of beneficiaries will be carried out after the National Population Register (NPR) programme is completed in the State which is expected by June 30, 2013.
On assumption of office in May 2011, the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam government took two decisions concerning the social security schemes. It not only increased the amount of pension from Rs. 500 to Rs. 1,000 but also decided to disburse it through banks in a phased manner.
In respect of Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme too, the State government has decided to make payment through banks in five districts – Kancheepuram, Tiruvallur, Erode, Tirupur and Kanyakumari, from January, according to an official release issued by the State Level Bankers’ Committee. In these districts, bank accounts for 6.1 lakh beneficiaries have been opened.
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