by rumours, not many in rural areas show enthusiasm. “I don’t know whose scheme this is but it’s not good for us,’’ says Ravindra Kushwaha, of Jasalpur, recounting his troubles with opening an account and getting an Adhar card.
Jasalpur, about 10 km from Hoshangabad on Pipariya Road, is one of the villages that have an USB, started by Central Bank of India. For a population of 3,115, it has a relatively high number of 1,600 accounts with only Central Bank.
Dharmendra Chouhan, who supervises the functioning of more than a dozen business correspondents (engaged by the bank at Rs 3,500 monthly), admits not one beneficiary of Janani Suraksha Yojana (a scheme to promote institutional delivery) has actually got direct benefits in the last eight months. More than 40 women have been given cheques when the money should have been deposited in their accounts directly. But the presence of a USB means the beneficiary did not have to travel to the main branch to deposit the cheque or to get the money.
In fact, beneficiaries had expressed similar doubts when the state government introduced its own DBT. For example, farmers used to be given cash on selling wheat, then they were given cheques, and now the money is deposited directly in their bank accounts. Whenever a change was taking place, they used to think the previous arrangement was better in some way or the other before being convinced.
Of a total population of 12.48 lakh, Hoshangabad claims to have enrolled nearly 11.30 lakh for Aadhar cards and distributed the number to more than seven lakh. The district has fared better in Aadhar enrolment because it was one of the pilot districts chosen in 2010 to link PDS to Aadhar by issuing food coupons to beneficiaries.
Hoshangabad district has had special camps for targeted beneficiaries (women and schoolchildren) for the centre’s DBT, under which eight kinds of school scholarships and Janani Surakshya Yojana have been covered so far.
For all the publicity around “Aapka Paisa Aapke Haath”, DBT has no resonance and looks unlikely to become a poll issue. “Only issues such as electricity, roads and water matter in the election, not schemes like these. People know least about which government runs them,’’ says B C Pandey, a government employee.
Congress leaders take credit for the scheme by talking about DBT in their political rallies but otherwise politicians or parties have showed little interest to either