By front-loading PM-Kisan, the Centre has transferred Rs 13,855 crore as the first instalment of Rs 2,000 to each of the 6.93 crore farmers as on Friday, the finance ministry tweeted.
The government has laid a digital pipeline by linking Jan Dhan and other accounts with customers’ Aadhaar and mobile numbers to transfer as much as Rs 28,256 crore to 31.77 crore beneficiaries in just 10 days to soften the Covid-19 blow to the vulnerable sections of society. This marks the biggest transfer of official benefits in such a short period.
The system will be tested further as the Centre prepares to transfer more such benefits in the coming days. The benefits are part of the Rs 1.7-lakh crore Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package, announced by finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman recently.
This digital pipeline, based on the Jan Dhan, Aadhaar and Mobile (JAM) mechanism, is providing the necessary backbone for the flow of the direct benefit transfer (DBT), adoption of social security/pension schemes, etc, according to a statement by the finance ministry on Sunday.
The banking system had around 126 crore operative current and savings accounts as of March 20. These include as many as 38 crore Jan Dhan accounts. The bank accounts are enabled to carry out both cash and digital transactions at bank branches, business correspondent (BC) points, merchant locations and on internet. Using biometric ID, highly cost-effective payments solutions like AePS/ Bhim Aadhaar Pay have been created both for banking services and for retail payments, the ministry said.
The digital payment ecosystem includes AePS (which helps in cash withdrawal by using Aadhaar authentication at branch/BC locations), Bhim Aadhaar Pay, RuPay debit cards, united payment interface (UPI) and Bharat Bill Payment System (BBPS). The BBPS helps in payment of utility bills through internet and BC locations, both though cash and digital modes.
The package, announced by the finance minister, was a mix of fresh sops, front-loading of some of the planned expenditures and utilisation of some of the autonomous funds (no implication on the Centre’s budget) at the state/district level.
By front-loading PM-Kisan, the Centre has transferred Rs 13,855 crore as the first instalment of Rs 2,000 to each of the 6.93 crore farmers as on Friday, the finance ministry tweeted. Under the scheme, the Centre has been providing Rs 6,000 to each farmer spread over three equal instalments in a year.
It also transferred Rs 500 to each of 19.86 crore women Jan Dhan account holders (97% of the total beneficiaries) involving an outgo of Rs 9,930 crore. Two more instalments to these account holders will be provided in the subsequent months.
From the one-time grant of Rs 1,000 each to senior citizens, widows and differently-abled people, the Centre has transferred one portion of that amounting Rs 1,405 crore to 2.82 crore beneficiaries through direct benefit transfer (DBT) mode.
To give support to building and other construction workers, Rs 3,066 crore were transferred to 2.16 crore beneficiaries. As part of the package, the Centre had asked states to use roughly Rs 31,000 crore available with them under the Welfare Fund for Building and Other Constructions Workers (created under a Central Act) to protect such workers against economic disruptions.