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New Delhi: The government’s ambitious scheme of direct cash transfer of subsidy to bank accounts of beneficiaries begins today across 20 districts of the country with Finance Minister P Chidambaram describing the move as a “game changer”.
Talking to media persons along with Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari, Chidambaram said the scheme will be rolled out across 11 more districts on February 1 and 12 more districts on March 1, taking the total to 43 districts over the next two months.
Admitting there could be some unforeseen glitches in the implementation of the scheme, Chidambaram said these would be overcome and the government was confident to roll it out across the country by the end of 2013. He said 26 schemes were ready for rollout and cash benefit transfers will take place according to date of payment of the scheme. He said more schemes will be rolled out.
Chidambaram said payment through direct benefit transfer would be credited to accounts of beneficiaries in seven schemes, including scholarship and stipend schemes for students from weaker sections from January 1.
“Over 200,000 beneficiaries will start receiving benefits through direct benefits transfer,” he said.
The minister said the government had no intention of direct benefit transfer for subsidies relating to food, fertilizer and kerosene as these were “complex issues”.
Answering queries about the word “cash” having been used for the scheme earlier and the Congress almost claiming its ownership for political gains, Chidambaram said that the party’s slogan “aapka paisa aapke haath (your money in your hands)” was valid.
He said that the party would continue to use the slogan as it resonates with people, but declined to link the scheme with 2014 general elections. He said that a more appropriate phrase for the scheme from the government platform is “direct benefit transfer” as it was more neutral phrase.
In some schemes, cash benefit may be credited to college accounts and not to students directly, he added.
Tewari said there had been concern over several years that the money which leaves the government does not reach the beneficiary.
“The purpose of direct benefits transfer is to ensure that benefits go to individuals bank accounts electronically, cutting down delays and diversions,” he said. They said cash benefits will be transferred in schemes such as scholarships, pensions and MGNREGA wages.
Chidambaram said credit transfer will take place even if beneficiaries did not have Aadhar (brand name of the Unique Identification number ). The national committee on direct cash transfers, set up by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, had taken a decision to roll out the scheme from Jan 1 in 43 identified districts in 16 states.
11 women inmates escape destitute home
Kolkata: At least 11 woman inmates, among them two Bangladeshis, escaped from a destitute home in West Bengal’s Hooghly district yesterday. A state minister later attributed the fleeing to their “tendency to escape”.
“Eleven inmates of a destitute home in Uttarpara escaped through a window early yesterday. Two of the women are Bangladeshi nationals,” an official at the Uttarpara police station said. “Most of the escapees are from North 24-Parganas and were trafficked to Mumbai. They were rescued and brought to the home Nov 23,” the official added.
West Bengal Minister for Women and Child Development and Social Welfare Sabitri Mitra denied any lapse of security at the home and blamed the inmates’ “tendency to escape”.
“Inmates of destitute homes have a tendency to escape and in this case they never wanted to live in the home,” said Mitra.
“There has been no lack of security. They have been trying to escape ever since they were brought here following a court order. A departmental inquiry has been ordered and police are looking for them,” added Mitra.IANS