Friday, 14 December 2012

The government will set up camps in educational institutions and villages to speed up enrollment of beneficiaries under direct cash transfer scheme, a finance ministry official said. 

Direct cash transfer, a method the government hopes will plug leakages and cut delays in transfer of subsidies to the poor, is to be rolled out in 51 districts in 15 states from January 1. 

Enrollment camps will be set up in schools and colleges for cash transfers under scholarship schemes, and in villages and bank branch service areas for all other schemes. 

"Concerns have been raised on how we will be able to enroll beneficiaries. This camp-based approach will help us reach out to every nook and corner of the country," the official said. Earlier in the Rajya Sabha, Finance Minister P Chidambaram had denied that the government was implementing the cash transfer system in a hurry, saying measures were being implemented step by step to eliminate leakages, delays, and falsification. 

"The scheme was not devised in a hurry. It will not be implemented in a hurry. Our watchword for the scheme is 'we will not hasten, will implement it slowly, step by step'" Chidambaram said in the Rajya Sabha on Thursday. 

The camps, which will function for three consecutive days, will help beneficiaries open a bank or Postal Account and also apply for an Aadhaar number—a unique identification number being issued to all resident Indians. These camps will have representatives from the district administration, the leading bank in the region, and the postal department. 

All departments concerned will coordinate with the district magistrates for the smooth functioning of these camps, the official said. Once data is captured in the system, it will be transmitted to the district office of the department concerned. 

Collated data will be shared between government departments, banks and Post Offices for cross-verification. 

"This will be a massive exercise that will be carried out over the next two three weeks, being undertaken under the supervision of district-level co-ordination committee," the official said. 

The official said the process will help cross-check data on beneficiaries and help avoid duplication. The government has already begun the process for implementing direct transfer of cash subsidy on PDS kerosene in 11 states and Union Territories. 

The department of food and public distribution proposes to implement the scheme for beneficiaries of the Targeted Public Distribution System in six Union Territories on a pilot basis.

Reduction in Commission of PPF agents to make the Schemes more Investor Centric than Agent Centric

The recommendation of Shyamala Gopinath Committee regarding agents’ commission was to reduce commission of 0.5% on Senior Citizens Saving Scheme (SCSS) and 1% on Public Provident Fund (PPF) to zero, reduce 4% commission under Mahila Pradhan Kshetriya Bachat Yojana (MPKBY) to 1% in a phased manner and to reduce 1% commission for all other schemes under Standardised Agency System (SAS) to 0.5%. The Government, after consulting all the stakeholders and the representations received, has decided to reduce the commission under PPF and SCSS to zero and under SAS to 0.5%. However, commission under MPKBY continues to be at 4% for the time being. 

The main intention of these recommendations is to make these schemes more investor centric than agent centric. 

Representations of Small Savings Agents’ Association from various states including Mumbai were received in the past. Taking into account large number of representations received from Small Savings Agent’s Associations, Members of Parliament, other dignitaries and others, the Government accepted most of the recommendations of the Committee. 

This was stated by the Minister of State for Finance Shri Namo Narain Meena in a written reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha today.