Need no longer stand in queue at the bank to ask if it’s arrived
When Priyanka Dhurve was told that her scholarship money had been deposited directly into her bank account, she was not quite sure what it meant. To let her satisfy her curiosity, she was advised to withdraw Rs 500.
So far, the 16-year-old of class XI had only seen her parents collect cash from her hostel or deposit cheques into her bank account. “Standing in queue only to ask whether the money from the cheque had been credited used to consume a lot of time, and occasionally I had to miss school,” she says. The school hours of 10.30 am to 4.30 pm coincide with banking hours.
A bright student, Priyanka scored 83.3 per cent in class X. She studies at a government excellence school and lives in a hostel for tribal girls. Her parents live in Nibhora village, about 45 km from Hoshangabad, and find it inconvenient to visit the town only to check her bank account.
Priyanka was among the first beneficiaries of direct cash transfers under the centrally sponsored merit scheme of SC/ST students. So was Hemlata Uikey, another student of XI living in the same hostel. Hoshangabad, Harda and Khandwa are among the pilot districts in Madhya Pradesh chosen for the scheme.
Hemlata has a modest background and is the only one in her family of six to have progressed this far in school. Her siblings dropped out after class V because her village, about 100 km from Hoshangabad, did not have a secondary school then. Her father, a farmer, would have withdrawn her too from school had it not been for the scholarship she earned.
Priyanka, whose father teaches at a government school, aims to become an IAS officer. Hemlata, 17, would like to be a teacher.
“It came as a new year gift,” both say of the direct cash transfer. Both have had Aadhar cards made in their villages and have accounts with the State Bank of India.
Six other beneficiaries under the scheme had received their money by Thursday, with direct transfers having been launched from the new year. They got Rs 8000 each. Ironically, the scheme has been chosen because the money had so far been reaching beneficiaries much later than it should have.
Before the cheque facility was introduced, it was the beneficiaries’ parents who were given cash, when they visited the child’s hostel. This