Direct benefit transfers – a bane that once was envisaged a boon

The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events. Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced. I will bear the sole responsibility for anything that is found to have been copied or misappropriated or misrepresented in the following post.

Prajval Amin, MBA 2015-17, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur

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The title, amidst the all praises, may sound pessimistic. But, if analysed, at the ground level they may look totally different.

DBT can be as one of the few achievements of the UPA2 considering the number of scams happened. This initiation will ease the payment of subsidies, reduce corruption and reduce time in completing the process. This initiative would have been a great success if the burden of implementation was more on the government, rather than on banks.

Although the percentage of poor population in high, there is no availability of zero balance frill free accounts. Ironically the introduction of DBT has left the poor in dilemma.

When the average illiterate citizen goes to bank for opening such an account, the bank refuse to open at first. But when branch is unable to cross the monthly target, they accept the proposal and open the account. But for the poor and illiterate citizen, it is more difficult to find identity and address proof. Aadhar card is helpful in that situation but there is also limitation of it like blunders in names and address. if they overcome with that, the next problem face by illiterate citizen is the filling up of account opening form. So for that agents come in picture which charge for filling up the form. If the average illiterate overcome with this situation also, sometimes banks took more than a week for opening an account.

That was for account opening process. The average Indian poor is in such a dire poverty that he has to make withdrawal of LPG subsidy of less than two hundred rupees, whenever it gets credited to his accounts. Pensions, which are also directly transferred now, have been creating difficulties for the poor. Mere file uploading at Government offices takes days as the beneficiaries of such pensions are the ones with no wherewithal to their disposal.

In person verification, extreme understaffing at the Banks makes the processes more difficult. If the Government really wants to do something for the people, they have to introduced digitalization. This will also help Banks to the implementation of e-KYC process. Citizens also may get their accounts opened without any difficulties by introducing it.

Unless there are any concrete actions from the Government, the Poor Indian will keep suffering from the current rules of banks.

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