Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje plans to relaunch her own Bhamashah financial inclusion and women’s empowerment scheme on August 15, the same day Prime Minister Narendra Modi will unveil the Centre’s financial inclusion plan.
The Bhamashah programme — Bhamashah was the prime minister under Maharana Pratap — first launched in 2008 collected biometric data of 44 lakh families and opened 26 lakh accounts with Punjab National Bank, and R160 crore was transferred to 10 lakh accounts. The programme was put on hold following a court case, and was junked by the new government when Raje lost the election in 2008.
The relaunched Bhamashah will not use these biometrics. According to SC Garg, the state’s finance secretary, the state will now use the Unique Identification Authority of India’s Aadhaar biometric data and link it to bank accounts. The initial plan is to enrol all citizens by the end of the year. Each of the state’s 9,177 panchayats will have a Rajasthan Seva Kendra (RSK) — in buildings constructed under Bharat Nirman schemes — which will offer e-facilities to cover all 100 services offered electronically by the state today. The RSKs, Garg says, will also offer banking correspondent services.
While the initial plan is to offer all 100 services as well as the entitlements under the Food Security Act on the Bhamashah platform, Garg says over a period of time all government programmes will flow on this platform.
This adds up to around R20,000 crore a year, and the state hopes to be able to deliver this electronically by the end of FY16. While all collectors have been asked to ensure complete enrolment and seeding of bank accounts by the end of the year, a sum of R600 crore has been set aside for setting up the Bhamashah platform This also includes a one-time payment of R2,000 for families that are not covered by any social sector scheme of the government. Camps are to be started at the panchayat and district level for all residents above the age of 5, and anyone covered by any scheme of the government will have to register.