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Direct cash transfer scheme not a magic wand: Ramesh

January 06, 2013 20:37 IST

The direct cash transfer scheme is not a "jaadu ki chhadi" (magic wand) to reform a "broken down" delivery system and problems are there in its implementation, Union Minister Jairam Ramesh said on Sunday.

"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 reforms," he told reporters at Gollaprolu in Andhra Pradesh.

The Union rural development minister's remarks came against the backdrop of criticism that in the absence of proper infrastructure, the scheme cannot be operationalised successfully and that the benefits may not reach the intended beneficiaries.

The scheme to provide cash benefits to the needy through Aadhar-linked bank accounts was launched on January 1 in 20 districts in six states and three union territories.  The scheme is proposed to cover the entire country by the end of this year.

Ramesh admitted that there were hitches in the implementation of the scheme but was confident that it would be overcome.

"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," he said after launching DBTS for MGNREGS at Gollaprolu in East Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh.

"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 could be a source of corruption.

Ramesh said, "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.

The government had earlier planned to introduce the scheme in 43 districts across 16 states from January one but the launch was caled down due to slow progress of Aadhar-linked bank accounts.

"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 beneficiary," Ramesh said.

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.

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