Thursday, April 4, 2013

Direct Benefits Transfer (DBT)

The Prime Minister is holding a meeting of the National Committee on DBT to review the rollout of the Direct Benefits Transfer (DBT) system so far and the approaches and strategies being adopted for expansion into new districts and schemes.

The Direct Benefits Transfer system was rolled out from 1.1.2013 in a phased manner in 43 districts and 26 schemes. The DBT system is falling into place. While there were teething troubles initially, Ministries have become familiar with the concept and the processes involved. There is a large process re-engineering exercise that is going on within Ministries and Departments to facilitate this switch to DBT.

Progress will be reviewed on the digitisation of databases, the opening of Bank accounts, the enrolment in Aadhaar and the seeding of databases with Aadhaar numbers. There will be a thrust on digitisation of data of beneficiaries in all districts, irrespective of the rollout of DBT as this is a critical activity which need not wait and can be done in parallel. The department of Financial Services will be asked to ensure coverage of all beneficiaries with bank accounts. It will ensure that all Micro-ATMs that are procured will have specifications such that they are inter­operable and are Aadhaar enabled. Ministries will be asked to quickly complete their process re-engineering exercise to eliminate redundant layers, to ensure flow of authenticated lists, to make electronic payments through APB and to utilise the feedback loop to obtain proof of transfer for record keeping.

Most importantly, DBT will be expanded to cover districts in those states which have been allocated initially to Registrar General of India (RGI) for collecting biometric data under NPR. These are states with large numbers of poor and hence, beneficiaries. They include Odisha, West Bengal, UP, Uttarakhand, Bihar and Chhattisgarh. MHA and the Registrar General of India (RGI) will work towards accelerating biometric collection in selected districts in NPR states so that a coverage of 70-80% is achieved by June 2013 and DBT could be rolled out from 1.7.2013.

Further, DBT is likely to be expanded to cover 78 more districts in the next phase of the rollout which will begin from 1 July 2013. The three pension schemes managed by MoRD for old age persons, widows and the disabled would now be covered under DBT from 1.7.2013. Post Offices will also be included from 1.10.2013.

With this, DBT will cover over 120 districts which is roughly one-fifth of the country. DBT will now become more visible with a larger footprint, both in terms of area and in terms of number of people covered. The positive benefits of DBT will also be more visible.

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