Ramesh launches cash transfer scheme in Andhra

Says it's not a magic wand but an experiment

Surya Desaraju/PTI | January 7, 2013



Describing the direct cash transfer scheme as the "largest experiment" to reform a "broken down delivery system", Union Minister Jairam Ramesh on Sundayday cautioned that it was no magic wand and more work was needed to make it successful on ground.

"It (Direct Benefits Transfer Scheme) is not a single 'jaadu ki chhadi' (magic wand). It is an experiment. The world's largest experiment in administrative reform.

"It has problems on the ground. It will have problems with banks, post offices and online connectivity. We have embarked on this. We will resolve these issues as we go along," the Union Minister for Rural Development told reporters after launching DBTS for MGNREGS at Gollaprolu in East Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh this afternoon.

The minister asserted, "If we are successful (in implementing DBTS), we would have completely reformed the welfare delivery system".

The minister said that by the end of August 2013, every gram panchayat, mandal and district will be on the micro ATM network. "You need not run to banks or post-offices to get money. Money will come to you at your doorstep," Ramesh said.

"No solution is without ten problems in India. You can always find ten problems for one solution. The key to avoiding corruption at the beneficiary end is to give the beneficiary the choice of business correspondents," the minister replied, when asked if the business correspondents (BCs) could be a source of corruption.

"Today, it is one bank, one business correspondent, one beneficiary. The new model is - one bank, multiple BCs and one beneficiary. The choice of BC is entirely up to the (DBTS) beneficiary," he pointed out.

Asked if he has obtained an Aadhar card, the Union Minister remarked, "I am not a welfare delivery system beneficiary. I don't need an Aadhar card. Aadhar enrolment should be universal for the beneficiaries (of government schemes).

"It need not be universal for entire population," Jairam Ramesh said.

Earlier, Ramesh launched the DBTS in East Godavari, which is one of the four districts in Andhra Pradesh where the scheme is being launched as part of the nationwide roll-out of DBTS in the first phase.

East Goadavari district has the distinction of achieving 99 per cent enrolment for Aadhar and as many as 43.32 lakh persons were already issued UID cards.

While launching the scheme, Ramesh paid the pension amount to Nilla Satyanarayana, a physically challenged person, using a micro ATM. The minister also paid wages using micro ATM to MGNREGP workers on the occasion.

He said a sum of Rs 3,000 crore was being distributed as wages to 55 lakh MGNREGP workers per annum in the state.

Similarly, Rs 425 crore was being given as social security pensions to 16 lakh beneficiaries.

"This amount will now come directly to the beneficiaries' hands without having to run to banks or post offices. The amounts will be distributed through business correspondents using micro ATMs," the Minister said.

Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy, state Home Minister P Sabita Reddy, MPs Undavalli Arun Kumar and G Harsha Kumar, ministers, legislators and senior officials were present on the occasion.

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