Direct cash transfers: The scheme that blocked kerosene

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SummaryThe pilot for cash transfer was launched in Kotkasim in December 2011.

Gunsar village are on 26.04.2012, when each received Rs 263. Since then, either the money has not come in or they have not been able to go to the bank.

The business correspondent model to facilitate last-mile delivery is yet to see the light of day. This, in a block where the scheme has now had a 22-month run.

“Not one person in this village has got money in advance,” says Sooraj Bhan, owner of a fair-price shop and zilla head, PDS, in Alwar. “They first buy kerosene, then I make an entry, which I forward to the district supply officer, after which money is supposed to be transferred. Kerosene sales have dropped drastically. The Congress will not gain even one per cent votes with this scheme.”

DSO R C Meena insists the scheme is being implemented “well”. He says there were some problems with bank accounts that caused delays, but these have now been “sorted out”.

Under Aadhar, while enrolment rates are high, the numbers are yet to be seeded with bank accounts, a prerequisite for cash transfer. The scheme in Kotkasim is not being implemented on the basis of Aadhar.

‘Scheme? What scheme?’

In Ajmer, the slogan “Aapka Paisa Aapke Haath” has no resonance. “I have not heard of this scheme. We all have Aadhar numbers because we were told we won’t get anything if we don’t. But how that makes any difference, we don’t understand,” says Ram Jeevan of Tilonia village, also the ‘ward head’.

Shama Devi of Harmara village is equally puzzled. “I get pension in cash. That is convenient. But the government hasn’t told us anything,” she says, as she displays her new Aadhar card.

“See, we know of the scheme because we work in the social sector,” says Naurat Mal, who works with Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan. “An ordinary villager has no clue. Not a single government official or politician has come to explain the scheme or how it would make a difference. Even if we try to explain, people don’t get the difference. They still get pension in hand or by cheque. Scholarships may be coming directly into accounts but people hardly care about it. Here, Aadhar is all people have heard about, but only as a mandatory identity proof. Unlike MGNREGA, which was on the lips of every villager, DBT is something not everyone knows about.”

In Arahi, where cash subsidy for kerosene has just been launched, there is absolute confusion.

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