Cash transfer may hurt girls and kids, says Amartya Sen #UID


SANDEEP JOSHI, The Hindu

Amartya Sen:

Amartya Sen: “We should not accept corruption on some fatalistic ground that this is the way things are in our country.”

Eminent economist and Nobel Prize winner Amartya Sen has said the Union government’s cash transfer scheme can be a useful system to supplement other ways of making India a less unequal society, “but it is not a magic bullet, and its pros and cons have to be assessed and scrutinized with an open mind.”

In an interview to The Hindu, Dr. Sen said the modality of cash transfer is not the only issue “but also how much, and for whom, and also, instead of what?”

He sounded a note of caution in cash transfer of food subsidies, saying direct access to food often helps reaching nutrition to children and girls. But when the subsidy is given as cash directly it may benefit adults and boys more due to biased social priorities in Indian society.

Dr. Sen said the transition delays in cash transfer could cause extreme hardship to people, many of whom lead a hand-to-mouth existence.

 

IMMEDIATE RELEASE- Cash Transfers and UID: Essential Demands


200 px

200 px (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

 

We support cash transfers such as old age pensions, widow pensions, maternity entitlements and scholarships. However, we oppose the government’s plan for accelerated mass conversion of welfare schemes to UID-driven cash transfers. This plan could cause havoc and massive social exclusion. We demand the following:

 

 

1. No replacement of food with cash under the Public Distribution System.

 

 

The PDS is a vital source of economic security and nutrition support for millions of people. It should be expanded and consolidated, not dismantled.

 

 

2. Immediate enactment of a comprehensive National Food Security Act, including universal PDS.

 

 

Instead of diverting the public’s attention with promises of mass cash transfers before the 2014 elections, the government should redeem its promise to enact a National Food Security Act (NFSA).

 

 

3. Cash transfers should not substitute for public services.

 

 

While some cash transfer schemes are useful, they should complement, notsubstitute for the provision of public services such as health care, school education, water supply, basic amenities, and the PDS. These services remain grossly under-funded.

 

 

4. Expand and improve appropriate cash transfers without waiting for UID.

 

 

There is no need to wait for UID to expand and improve positive cash transfer schemes such as pensions, scholarships and maternity entitlements. For instance, social security pensions should be increased and universalized.

 

 

5. No UID enrolment without a legal framework.

 

 

Millions of people are being enrolled for UID without any legal safeguards. The UIDAI’s draft bill has been rejected by a parliamentary standing committee. UID enrolment should be halted until a sound legal framework is in place.

 

 

6. All UID applications should be voluntary, not compulsory.

 

 

UID should never be a condition for anyone to access any entitlements or public services. A convenient alternative should always be available.

 

 

7. UID should be kept out of the PDS, NREGA and other essential entitlement programmes for the time being.

 

 

Essential services are not a suitable field of experimentation for a highly centralised and uncertain technology. Other applications (e.g. to tax evasion) should be tried first.

 

 

Explanatory Note:

 

Why we Oppose the Rush to Cash Transfers and UID

 

 

We support cash transfers such as old age pensions, widow pensions, maternity entitlements and scholarships. In fact, many of us have been part of struggles to expand social security pensions and improve their delivery. We also support appropriate, people-friendly uses of modern technology for this purpose.

 

 

However, we have serious reservations about the government’s rush to link these cash transfers to “Aadhaar”, the unique identity (UID) number. This is because the linking of these schemes can cause huge disruption – think of an old man who is currently getting his pension from the local post office, but will now have to run around getting his “UID-enabled” bank account activated and then may find his pension held up by fingerprints problems, connectivity issues, power failures, truant “business correspondents”, and what not.

 

 

We are also firmly opposed to the introduction of cash transfers in lieu of food and other commodities supplied through the Public Distribution System, for many reasons. One, subsidized food from the PDS is a source of food and economic security for millions of poor families. In 2009-10, implicit transfers from the PDS wiped out about one fifth of the “poverty gap” at the national level, and close to one half of it in states like Tamil Nadu and Chhattisgarh. Recent experience also shows that it is possible to further revamp and reform the PDS without delay.

 

 

Two, the banking system in rural areas is not ready to handle large volumes of small transfers. Banks are often far and overcrowded. The alleged solution, banking correspondents, is fraught with problems. Post offices could possibly be converted into useful payment agencies, but this will take time.

 

 

Three, rural markets are often poorly developed. Dismantling the PDS would disrupt the flow of food across the country and put many people at the mercy of local traders and middlemen.

 

 

Four, there are concerns of special groups such as single women, disabled persons and the elderly who cannot easily move around to withdraw their cash and buy food from distant markets.

 

 

Last but not least, inflation could easily erode the purchasing power of cash transfers. When the government refuses to index pensions or NREGA wages, how can it be trusted to index cash transfers to the price level? Even if some indexation does happen, small delays or gaps in price information could cause significant hardship for poor people.

 

 

The Kotkasim fiasco is a telling example of the potentially disruptive effects of inappropriate cash transfer schemes. The experiment was launched with much fanfare and immediately projected as a “stunning success” based on the fact that kerosene subsidy expenditure had declined by 80%, but in fact, the main reason for this decline was the collapse of the entire kerosene distribution system.

 

 

An impression has been created that the government is all set to launch UID-enabled cash transfers on a mass scale before the 2014 elections. This is very misleading, and looks like an attempt to make people rush to UID enrolment centres. This announcement also diverts attention from the government’s failure to enact a National Food Security Act. The food security bill, very weak in the first place, has been languishing with a Standing Committee for a whole year. Meanwhile, food stocks are accumulating on an unprecedented scale. The need of the hour is a comprehensive National Food Security Act, not a potentially disruptive rush for UID-driven cash transfers.

 

 

List of Signatories

 

  1. Sunil Abraham, Centre for Internet and Society

  2. Pushpa Achanta, Writer

  3. Bina Agarwal, Professor, Institute of Economic Growth

  4. Samantha Agarwal, Activist, Raipur

  5. Ankita Aggarwal, Researcher, New Delhi

  6. Ashutosh Agrawal, Student

  7. Anivar Aravind, Entrepreneur, Technology Manager

  8. Chirashree Das Gupta, Ambedkar University

  9. Indu Agnihotri, Director, Centre for Women’s Development Studies

  10. Sohail Akbar, Associate Professor, Jamia Milia Islamia

  11. Evangeline Anderson-Rajkumar, United Theological College Bangalore

  12. Janki Andharia, Tata Institute of Social Sciences

  13. Sadhna Arya, University of Delhi and Saheli Women’s Resource Centre

  14. K.V. Nagesh Babu, Assistant Professor, Tata Institute of Social Sciences

  15. Amiya Kumar Bagchi, Vice Chancellor, Tripura University

  16. Megha Bahl Student, Faculty of Law, University of Delhi

  17. Arindam Banerjee, Jawaharlal Nehru University

  18. Arindam Banerjee, Assistant Professor, Ambedkar University

  19. Sreshtha Banerjee, Social Activist

  20. Sanjay (Xonzoi) Barbora, Tata Institute of Social Sciences (Guwahati)

  21. Kripa Basnyat, PWESCR, Programme on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

  22. Moushumi Basu, Associate Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University

  23. Akansha Batra, Junior Research Fellow, Indian Statistical Institute

  24. Anjali Bhardwaj, Satark Nagrik Sangathan

  25. Bharat Bhatti, Student, Ambedkar University

  26. Kiran Bhatty, Senior Fellow, Centre for Policy Research

  27. Praful Bidwai, Journalist

  28. Ramila Bisht, Associate Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University

  29. Arudra Burra

  30. Kathyayini Chamaraj, Journalist

  31. C.P. Chandrashekhar, Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University

  32. Sarika Chaturvedi, Ph D scholar, Karolinska Institute, Sweden

  33. Aheli Chowdhury, JOSH, Delhi

  34. Arati Choksi, People’s Union for Civil Liberties, Bangalore

  35. Gowru Chinnapa, Bangalore

  36. Priti Darooka, PWESCR, Programme on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

  37. Jitu Das, Alghanim Industries

  38. Asit Das

  39. Anirban Dasgupta, South Asia University

  40. Jashodhara Dasgupta, National Alliance for Maternal Health and Human Rights

  41. Saurav Datta

  42. Ashwini Deshpande, Professor, Delhi School of Economics

  43. Ritu Dewan, Mumbai University

  44. Nikhil Dey, Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan

  45. Harish Dhawan, Associate Professor in Economics, University of Delhi

  46. Arundhati Dhuru, National Alliance of People’s Movements

  47. Gabriele Dietrich, National Alliance of People’s Movements

  48. Sarah Dobinson, PWESCR Programme on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

  49. Jean Drèze, Visiting Professor, Allahabad University

  50. Ajit Eapen

  51. Warisha Farasat, Lawyer

  52. Jayati Ghosh, Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University

  53. Kaveri Gill, Independent researcher

  54. S. S. Gill,  Director General, CRRID, Chandigarh

  55. Paranjoy Guha Thakurta, Journalist

  56. Aashish Gupta, Research Assistant, Allahabad University

  57. Ruchi Gupta, National Campaign for People’s Right to Information

  58. Zoya Hasan, Professor, Centre for Political Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University

  59. Neeraj Hatekar, Professor, Department of Economics, University of Mumbai

  60. Rohini Hensman, Independent scholar and author

  61. Himanshu, Assistant Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University

  62. Danish Husain, Actor

  63. Indira C, Researcher Public Health, Delhi

  64. Kaveri Rajaraman Indira, Concern, Indian Institute of Science

  65. Jaya Iyer, Khadya Nyaya Abhiyan

  66. Devaki Jain

  67. K.P. Jayasankar, Professor, Tata Institute of Social Sciences

  68. Praveen Jha, Jawaharlal Nehru University

  69. Sadan Jha, Assistant Professor, Centre for Social Studies, Surat

  70. Ravinder Jha, Miranda House, University of Delhi

  71. Rajiv Jha, Shri Ram College of Commerce, University of Delhi

  72. Amrita Johri, Satark Nagrik Sangathan

  73. Sunny Jose, Associate Professor, Tata Institute of Social Sciences

  74. Aleesha Mary Joseph, Student, St. Stephen’s College

  75. Deep Joshi

  76. Vijay Lakshmi Joshi, People’s Union for Civil Liberties

  77. K. P. Kannan, Chairman, Lawry Baker Institute of Habitat Studies, Thiruvantanthapuram

  78. Anirban Kar, Associate Professor, Delhi School of Economics

  79. Ashok Khandelwal, Economist

  80. Madhulika Khanna, Researcher, New Delhi

  81. Sushil Khanna, Indian Institute of Management Calcutta

  82. Reetika Khera, Assistant Professor, Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi

  83. Asha Kilaru, Public Health Researcher, Bangalore

  84. Ashish Kothari, Kalpavriksh

  85. Subasri Krishnan, Filmmaker

  86. Kavita Krishnan, CPI(ML) Liberation

  87. Abhay Kumar, Karnataka

  88. Richa Kumar, Assistant Professor, Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi.

  89. Awanish Kumar, Ph.D. Scholar, Tata Institute of Social Sciences

  90. Madhuresh Kumar, National Alliance of People’s Movements

  91. A.K. Shiva Kumar, Economist

  92. Lawrence Liang, Alternative Law Forum

  93. Kamayani Bali Mahabal, Advocate

  94. Neeraj Malik, University of Delhi

  95. Anubhuti Maurya, Bharati College, University of Delhi

  96. Surajit Mazumdar

  97. Indrani Mazumdar, Centre for Women’s Development Studies

  98. Bhanwar Meghvanshi, Dalit Adivasi Aur Ghumantu Adhikar Abhiyan, Rajasthan

  99. Subhash Mendhapurkar, SUTRA, Himachal Pradesh

  100. Aggie Menezes, Associate Professor, St Xavier’s College

  101. Mira Mehta, Department of Nutrition and Food Science, University of Maryland

  102. Kalpana Mehta, Manasi Swasthya Sansthan, Indore

  103. Ritambhara Mehta, Independent Researcher

  104. Nivedita Menon, Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University

  105. Rajkishore Mishra, Orissa

  106. Srijith Mishra, Associate Professor, Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research

  107. Gautam Mody, Secretary, New Trade Union Initiative

  108. Mritiunjoy Mohanty, Professor, Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta

  109. Sanat Mohanty, Associate Professor, Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi

  110. Anjali Monteiro, Professor, Tata Institute of Social Sciences

  111. Vipul Mudgal, Inclusive Media for Change, Centre for the Study of Developing Societies

  112. Prakriti Mukerjee, Yoda Press

  113. Poonam Muttreja, Population Foundation of India

  114. Tithi Nandy, Healthwatch Forum Uttar Pradesh

  115. R. Nagaraj, Professor, Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research

  116. Farah Naqvi, Writer and Activist

  117. Sudha Narayanan, Assistant Professor, Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research

  118. Rajendran Narayanan, Visiting Scientist, Indian Statistical Institute

  119. Arvind Narrain, Alternative Law Forum

  120. Saboohi Nasim, Assistant Professor, Aligarh Muslim University

  121. Balaji Narsimhan

  122. Nandini Nayak, School of African and Oriental Studies, University of London

  123. P. Niranjana, Assistant Professor, Tata Institute of Social Sciences

  124. V.P. Niranjanaradhya, National Law School of India University

  125. Claire Noronha, Collaborative Research and Dissemination

  126. Madhurima Nundy, Institute of Chinese Studies

  127. Gangaram Paikra, Right to Food Campaign, Chhattisgarh

  128. Parthapratim Pal, Associate Professor, Indian Institute of Management Calcutta

  129. Sandeep Pandey, National Alliance of People’s Movements

  130. Soma Kishore Parthasarathy, PhD scholar, Indian Institute of Technology Bombay

  131. Medha Patkar, National Alliance of People’s Movements

  132. Prabhat Patnaik, Retired Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University

  133. Utsa Patnaik, Retired Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University

  134. Boban V. Paul, NGO professional

  135. Pamela Philipose, Director, Women’s Features Services

  136. Neetha Pillai, Senior Fellow, Centre for Women’s Development Studies

  137. Dr Prabir, Independent Consultant, West Bengal

  138. Pranesh Prakash, Law and Policy Researcher

  139. Mythri Prasad, Researcher, French Institute of Pondicherry

  140. T. V. H. Prathamesh, Research Scholar, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore

  141. Raghav Puri, Independent Researcher

  142. Pushpendra, Director, Centre for Social Studies, Surat

  143. Kalyani Raghunathan, Ph.D. Scholar, Cornell University

  144. Annie Raja, National Federation of Indian Women

  145. Jawahar Raja, Advocate, Delhi

  146. Suvrat Raju, Reader, International Centre for Theoretical Sciences, Mumbai

  147. R. Ramakumar, Associate Professor, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai

  148. Kannama Raman, Associate Professor, University of Mumbai

  149. Usha Ramanathan, Legal Researcher

  150. Ashish Ranjan, Birla Institute of Technology, Patna

  151. Bharat Rastogi, Graduate student, University of California Santa Barbara

  152. Savitri Ray, FORCES Network, Centre for Women’s Development Studies

  153. Mohan Rao, Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University

  154. E. Rati Rao, People’s Union for Civil Liberties Karnataka

  155. Vidya Rao, Jain Vishva Bharati Institute, Rajasthan

  156. D. Narsimha Reddy, Chair Professor, NIRD, Hyderabad

  157. Rammanohar Reddy, Editor, Economic and Political Weekly

  158. Dr. K. Srinath Reddy

  159. Ira Regmi, Student, Lady Shri Ram College for Women

  160. Rohit, Assistant Professor, South Asia University

  161. Aruna Roy, Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan

  162. Saheli Women’s Resource Centre Sahyogi, Patna

  163. Preeti Sampat, Independent Researcher

  164. Meera Samson, Collaborative Research and Dissemination

  165. Sunil D. Santha, Assistant Professor, Tata Institute of Social Sciences

  166. Radha Kant Saxena, People’s Union for Civil Liberties

  167. Sukla Sen, EKTA (Committee for Communal Amity), Mumbai

  168. S. Seshan

  169. Sudeshna Sengupta, Mobile Crèches

  170. Mitu Sengupta, Centre for Human Development and Human Rights, New Delhi

  171. Prem Krishan Sharma, President, People’s Union for Civil Liberties, Rajasthan

  172. Saurabh Sharma, JOSH, Delhi

  173. Veena Shatrugna, Former Deputy Director, National Institute of Nutrition

  174. Jeevika Shiv

  175. Dr. Mira Shiva, Initiative for Health & Equity in Society

  176. Rama Shyam, Tata Institute of Social Sciences

  177. Aditya Shrivastava, Advocate

  178. Shankar Singh, Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan

  179. Bhanwar Singh, Astha

  180. Mahipal Singh, National Secretary, People’s Union for Civil Liberties

  181. Paramjeet Singh, People’s Union for Democratic Rights

  182. Surjit Singh, Director, Institute of Development Studies, Jaipur

  183. Dipa Sinha, Ph.D. Scholar, Jawaharlal Nehru University

  184. Shantha Sinha, National Commission for the Protection of Child Rights

  185. Ahmed Sohaib, Jamia Teachers’ Solidarity Association

  186. Gautam Sonti

  187. Vivek Srinivasan, Stanford University

  188. Nisha Srivastava, University of Allahabad

  189. Ravi Srivastava, Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University

  190. Shambhavi Srivastava, Graduate student, University of British Columbia

  191. Kavita Srivastava, National Secretary, People’s Union for Civil Liberties

  192. Sulakshana, Right to Food Campaign, Chhattisgarh

  193. Nandini Sundar, University of Delhi

  194. Mayur Suresh, Ph.D. Scholar, University of London

  195. V. Suresh, General Secretary, People’s Union for Civil Liberties

  196. Kamayani Swami, Jan Jagran Shakti Sangathan

  197. Padmini Swaminathan, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Hyderabad

  198. M.S. Swaminathan, Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha

  199. Sharmila Tagore

  200. Krishan Takhar, People’s Union for Civil Liberties

  201. Vamsi Vakulabharanam, Reader, University of Hyderabad

  202. Padma Velaskar, Professor, Tata Institute of Social Sciences

  203. G. Vijay, Assistant Professor, School of Economics, University of Hyderabad

  204. M. Vijayabaskar, Madras Institute of Development Studies, Chennai

  205. Vimochana, Forum for Women’s Rights

  206. Achin Vanaik, Retired Professor, University of Delhi

  207. Sujata Visaria, Hong Kong University of Science & Technology

  208. Bezwada Wilson, Safai Karamchari Andolan

 

 

 

 

Guinea pigs for technology #UID #Aaadhaar


Cash transfer would be a test for Aadhaar but the poor would pay the price
Cover photo
Sreelatha Menon / New Delhi Dec 16, 2012,, business standdar
 
Technology can be good. But should it be first tested on the poor, who can barely read and write? Then, leave them at the mercy of unkind banks and other agencies?
There are basically two requirements to be eligible for the cash transfer scheme. One, you should have a bank account. Two, you should have an Aadhaar number. Both are scarce and the government is in a tearing hurry.
These factors make a recipe for disaster. The only consolation for the government that hopes to ride on cash transfer in the next election is that benefits of many schemes, which will come under cash transfer, will never reach the poor. So, most people would not find out what they are missing.
For instance, half of the ration card holders never got anything. May be half of those who needed ration cards never even got the cards. Migrants in urban areas are excluded from benefits because their ration cards, issued by their states, don’t work in other states. Getting a new ration card is out of question, considering their inability to produce a local address proof.
Now, they are required to produce a new document — an Aadhaar card. In Thrissur district in Kerala, some people had to return from an Aadhaar enrolment camp because they were too old and their biometric mapping could not be captured on machines.
When technology fails, it is not the technology that gets rejected. It is the people who are rejected. So, these people – mostly old – with no income, and dependent on their children, would now be deprived of rice and gas subsidies.
As these cases multiply, they add up to even more poverty, malnutrition and hunger, and above all, anger — a fact that the ruling Congress must bear in mind.
Aadhaar and the cash transfer scheme, therefore, despite their possibilities would now act as measures to exclude a large number of people from whatever subsidies are available now, as in the case of cylinders and kerosene.
If this experiment was being conducted in a society ensured of some kind of social security such as pension – good enough to support the people in their old age – then this may not have hurt the poor. The best thing in these circumstances is to give people an option to choose between cash and kind.
This will ensure that no one will get excluded – not even Nandan Nilekeni and his project Unique Identification – or those who are staunch believers in cash transfer.
The only ray of hope is that the Centre cannot force state governments in implement the scheme. As Food Minister K V Thomas said states were free to give cash in place of food and other benefits, or just transfer the subsidy component in cash-to-bank accounts.
That would at least prevent jeopardising the existing system in many states, where genuine efforts have been made to make it work. Thomas offered another possibility that could make cash transfer less painful. He said instead of insisting on an Aadhaar card, documents like national population register card or ration card could be considered.
The pilot cash transfer project in Kotkasim in Rajasthan is a warning. The delays in cash transfer by nearly a year and the exclusion of over 5,000 ration card holders, who did not have accounts, expose callousness. Even a single case of a penurious old labour in Kotkasim having to go to a bank seven to 17 km away to inquire about the subsidy transfer to his bank, and the loss of his wages, are enough to condemn the scheme.

 

“Aadhaar” of Direct Cash Transfer is more of assumptions, less of ground-level realities #UID #MUSTREAD


14 DEC, 2012,

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/thumb/msid-17606021,width-310,resizemode-4/hold-the-cash-transfer-euphoria.jpg” width=”310″ border=”0″ vspace=”0″ />

The government announced that from January 2013, 51 districts of the country would be subjected to Aadhaar- based direct cash transfers (DCT). We need some basic answers before we get to term the initiative as a game-changer.
Quick-fix solutions?: The latest fix is through the new improved micro ATM architecture where BCs sort out the last mile. Technology provides a fix on authentication and transaction recording. This assumes that the physical connectivity between the branch and the customer through the intervention of a human being fixes the issue.But the cash has to be delivered physically. With 1,50,000 post offices, and postmen visiting all the habitations regularly, with an instrument of money order, we have not been able to sort out the problem of transferring the cash from the coffers to the beneficiaries.

The finance ministry has not convincingly established the business case for a BC. Do we have an idea how a BC would do it better? The answer would be in commissions and incentives. Agreed.

But where is the business case to the banking institutions if these costs are loaded? Does it work at scale?

Too much is loaded on to a single intervention, involving commercial institutions, without a strong business case.

The approach of the government is worrisome. It may be a part of the measures in the run up to the 2014 election is the simplicity with which the solutions are offered. That the entire country can take a single solution; that the solution can be offered through the banking system; that the only impending problem was establishing identity; and that Aadhaar will sort out issues much more than identity and fix leakages and petty corruption.

The commercial sector would have looked at this through the lens of segmentation, test marketing and local strategies. The government believes in standardisation and scale.

Even if Aadhaar number is subjected to multiple pilots in several locations, it is difficult to imagine how these pilots have informed this aggressive rollout of cash. This space is getting to be interesting and we need to watch for more action.

Ration shop dealers demand withdrawal of cash transfer scheme #AADHAAR #UID


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200 px (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 7 DEC, 2012,PTI

 

NEW DELHI: Ration shop dealers today threatened to go on strike demanding that direct cash transfer scheme should be withdrawn, and accused the government of being lethargic in strengthening the food distribution system.

 

 

The All India Fair Price Shop Dealers’ Federation said it would close down various rations shops across the country for one day on December 11, which would have an adverse impact on farmers.

 

 

The Federation has written to Union Minister K V Thomas intimating him about their intention to go on strike.

 

 

“We demand immediate withdrawal of Cash Transfer scheme. This scheme will not only ruin ration shops across the country but will completely destroy the public distribution system of the country.

 

 

“They (government) should strengthen the existing public distribution system across the country so that each and every member of BPL and APL families gets food to eat,” general secretary of the Federation, Biswambhar Basu, said.

 

 

The government proposes to roll-out the Aadhaar-enabled cash transfer for 29 schemes from January 1 in 51 districts, spread over 16 states. It also plans to cover the entire nation by the end of December 2013. Later, cash transfer would cover 42 welfare schemes.

 

 

 

 

 

Draft Twelfth Five Year Plan 2012-17 Planning Commission GOI, can be downloaded


DRAFT  Twelfth Five Year Plan 2012-17 Planning Commission  Government of India, you can download now

NDC meeting on 12th plan on 27 Dec

Plan document says the govt’s cash transfer programme will be a major step towards improving efficiency
Kirthi Rao , livemint.com
First Published: Wed, Dec 05 2012. 

http://www.livemint.com/rf/Image-621×414/LiveMint/Period1/2012/12/06/Photos/mgnrega1–621×414.jpg” />
The government envisages ‘adoption of a target to move major subsidies and major beneficiary payments to a cash basis linked to Aadhar by the end of the 12th Plan period. Photo: Priyanka Parashar/Mint

New Delhi: The 12th Plan document moved a step closer to approval by the apex decision-making authority of the country, the National Development Council (NDC), with the draft being posted on the plan panel’s website for discussion.
The NDC meeting is to be held on 27 December, the link on the plan panel website said. Media reports had earlier said the document would be discussed on 29 December.
The document targets 8.2% growth in the five years from 2012 to 2017 based on the direct cash transfer programme that the government espouses that “adoption of a target to move major subsidies and major beneficiary payments to a cash basis linked to Aadhar by the end of the 12th Plan period would be a major step towards improving efficiency.”
With the draft 12th plan document titled Faster, Inclusive and More Sustainable Growth put up for discussion on the plan panel’s website, it has moved a step closer to approval by the apex decision-making authority of the country, the National Development Council.
The NDC meeting is to be held on 27 December, the link on the plan panel website said. Media reports had earlier said the document, which targets 8.2% growth in the five years from 2012 to 2017, would be discussed on 29 December.
Total resources for the central plan are estimated to be Rs.43.33 trillion, down from the Rs.47.69 trillion estimated at the time of the Full Planning Commission meeting in September as the resources of Public Sector Enterprises turned out to beRs.4.3 trillion lower than estimated then.
The share of rural development and panchayati raj sectors in the centre’s gross budgetary support has been lowered from the 25.01% realised in the 11th Plan to a projected 18.86%. Projected share of health and child development sector, however, has been raised from the 7.09% realised in the 11th Plan to 11.45%.
On direct cash transfers for subsidies, the draft document suggests setting 2017 as a target for implementation all over the country.
“Adoption of a target to move major subsidies and major beneficiary payments to a cash basis linked to Aadhar by the end of the 12th Plan Period would be a major step towards improving efficiency,’ the document said.

Government to implement Aadhaar in 43 districts from January 1, 2013 #UID


By PTI – NEW DELHI

06th December 2012 04:07 PM

  • Home Minister P Chidambaram said a decision on whether Aadhaar should be mandatory for getting benefits through direct cash transfer, would be taken by individual ministries/ departments with respect to their own schemes. (PTI photo/File)
    Home Minister P Chidambaram said a decision on whether Aadhaar should be mandatory for getting benefits through direct cash transfer, would be taken by individual ministries/ departments with respect to their own schemes. (PTI photo/File)

Within days of Election Commission issuing direction in the direct cash transfer scheme, the government today said it will be implemented in 43 districts, as against 51 announced earlier.

“As Aadhaar numbers are in the process of being issued, Aadhar enabled direct cash transfer is being implemented in a phase wise manner beginning with 43 districts from January 1, 2013,” Finance Minister P Chidambaram said in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha.

The government’s earlier announcement of implementing cash transfer in 29 welfare schemes in 51 districts from January 1 was objected to by BJP, in view of the state- elections in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh.

Following a complaint by the BJP, the Election Commission has asked the government to postpone implementation of the scheme in these two states.

Chidambaram, in his reply, said a decision on whether Aadhaar should be mandatory for getting benefits through direct cash transfer, would be taken by individual ministries/ departments with respect to their own schemes.

The electronic cash transfers will be based on Aadhar (Unique Identification Number) platform. The entire country is targeted to be covered by the end of next year.

“Since Aadhaar is based on unique identity of a person that includes finger print…, the proposed transfer will help in de-duplication and accurate targeting of the beneficiary,” Chidambaram said.

The schemes which would come under the purview of the cash transfer scheme from January 1 would include those of Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Human Resources Development (HRD), Minority, Welfare, Women and Child Development, Health and Family and Labour and Employment.

Aadhaar, a 12-digit number, serves as a proof of identity and address anywhere in the country. The UIDAI has already issued 21 crore Aadhaar cards.

 

Glitches in cash transfer pilot project worry govt


By , TNN | Dec 3, 2012, 03.28 AM IST

Glitches in cash transfer pilot project worry govt
Jairam Ramesh, who is is a key person for the implementation of this programme which is being viewed by the political class as UPA-2’s “game changer”, has conceded that there would be operational issues in implementing the direct cash transfer scheme.

NEW DELHI: The government is alarmed by the fact that the year-long cash transfer pilot project in Alwar district‘s Kotkasim block has virtually been a non-starter as money has rarely, if ever, come into the bank accounts of intended beneficiaries.

Reacting to a report that TOI front-paged on December 2, rural development minister Jairam Ramesh said, “The Kotkasim thing is a very serious issue. There will be operational issues. That’s why this is being rolled out in the 51 districts. We will learn all these issues and then we’ll take a call.”

Ramesh is a key person for the implementation of this programme which is being viewed by the political class as UPA-2′s “game changer”. If it gets stymied by lazy implementation, the political dividends for UPA may be minimal. Possibly mindful of that, Ramesh said, “That’s why I have proposed that we must admit a system of concurrent evaluation. It should not be only officials giving you feedback that everything is very rosy and working on the ground.”

Asked whether cash transfers were being made into an electoral issue, the minister said, “What we’re saying is what’s yours should be yours. Today pensions are paid once in five months and you have to pay a bribe to get what is yours. This is also a huge anti-corruption step. I’ve seen with my own eyes how people have to pay bribes to get their measly Rs 200 pension.”

‘Cash scheme can tackle graft better than Lokpal

Ramesh felt direct cash transfers to intended beneficiaries was “far more efficient in dealing with corruption than the Lokpal model”. “The Lokpal model is needed but to think that the Lokpal is a panacea as some fellows seem to think is ridiculous,” he said.

Asked if ‘cash transfers’ is the right term, given that schemes proposed by the government entail some element of cash, but don’t replace subsidies like food, Ramesh said: ” It is not cash transfers. I have never used the word. It’s the media that’s going gung-ho and unfortunately even the Prime Minister‘s committee is called PM‘s Committee on Direct Cash Transfers.”

What would he call it then? “I would say it is direct benefits transfer. Direct entitlements transfer would be another. It is not direct cash transfer. If we were replacing the food or fertilizer subsidy with cash, that would be direct cash transfer. I react very negatively to the words ‘direct cash transfer’.”

Faking news: Babus, netas discuss how to loot cash transfers #UID #Aadhar


DNA / Rahul Roushan / Saturday, December 1, 2012 9:00 IST

Corrupt officials, leaders, businessmen, and criminals from 51 districts of India met here early today to devise plans to loot the cash that would be transferred to the poor as part of the newly announced Direct Cash Transfer scheme of the government.

“A government scheme without any fraud is like a computer without virus,” said a government official willing to work on the project to digitize the Aadhar database.

“If your computer never had any virus problems, you had a sad and boring life,” he claimed.

The meeting was called in after these people were offended by some claims that suggested that the latest welfare schemes could minimize corruption by directly transferring cash to the intended beneficiary’s account, thus doing away with the intermediaries who might pocket a share.

“We took it personally and as a challenge to our abilities to scam and loot,” another official said. “The country will come to a grinding halt if honest officers are found more organised and alert than the corrupt ones!”

The criminals attending the meeting proposed that they would simply rob off the guys coming out of banks after withdrawing the cash, but they were asked to wait till the other members found a better way to loot the citizens of the country.

“That’s the easiest thing to do,” the leaders and officials told the criminals attending the meeting, “But let us first apply our minds and try to figure out how to run away with this cash without overt criminality.”

“It will help us to confuse people if we get caught,” a leader explained to the criminals.

With the criminals’ plan kept as back up, the businessmen proposed to start a company in the villages that will offer to manage the cash received by the poor men and women.

“We will promise to increase their cash by over 10 times in a year, and ask them to deposit the cash in our Ponzi schemes after withdrawing them from their accounts,” a businessman suggested. “We have fooled educated people in the urban India, so fooling these village folks shouldn’t be a problem at all,” the businessman added.

This idea to loot the cash subsidy through Ponzi scheme was well received, but some leaders thought that this plan was risky.

“Some journalists and activists might track how the poor were using the cash subsidies. They fear that men in the poor families will fritter these cash subsidies away on liquor and gambling,” a leader pointed out. “These guys might come to know about our Ponzi scheme and may expose them.”

At this point of time, the criminals again offered to loot the poor people at gun point, but they were asked by the leaders and the officials to be patient.

“Look, we can do what was done in the MCD ghost employees case,” an official proposed. “We can have Aadhar cards issued to imaginary poor people and get cash transferred in those accounts, just like MCD was fooled into transferring salaries to imaginary employees,” the official added.

“We already have instances of Aadhar cards being issued to a coriander plant, so getting them issued to an imaginary human being shouldn’t be a problem,” the official pointed out.

Sources say that this suggestion was appreciated by everyone in the meeting and they agreed to meet next week with a detailed plan of the loot.

Rahul Roushan thinks he can make some sense through nonsense. He attempts the same through his news satire website www.fakingnews.com

 

Of Aadhaar/UID , cash transfers and red tape


 

For a system geared to control and command, cash transfers pose an implementation challenge

 

Sandipan Deb , livemint.com

200 px

200 px (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

    

First Published: Thu, Nov 29 2012. 02 19 PM IST

 

Respected prime minister ji, I am manager of bank in V___ (name censored under official secrecy, sedition, information technology and 11 other Acts; six loiterers outside bank branch given breathalyzer tests, two security guards at bank suspended for “poking” each other on Facebook), class VI town in Uttar Pradesh and I am hearing about this direct cash transfer business for few years now. I am also attended two-day training programme for bank officers on this in December 2011 at L___ (censored under ibid, nota bene, etc.,). Now I am hearing this is happening, and in my district. Sir, I am feeling very confused.

 

Then my one more neighbour is coming. He is saying, Arre, murkh, you look at the 29 schemes that will start on 1 January. They are all cash schemes anyway: scholarships and pensions. So how is anything changing? People will only now come to your bank with Aadhaar cards. And if they don’t have Aadhaar cards, you don’t pay.
I am reading in the papers and also watching on TV that this is a “game changer” and I am having to convince my foolish neighbour that cash transfer changing game has nothing to do with cricket match-fixing (He is very angry about defeat to British team in Mumbai). It has to do with election, but he is saying all same. I am telling him that now I will have to open hundreds of new savings accounts, and I am having only three clerks and Mrs Singh, who is sister-in-law of MLA and only comes to bank twice a day to light agarbatti in front of poster of Mr Aamir Khan she has put up. My security guards have been suspended by competent authority under Public Decency Act. How I will serve so many customers?
But the money for pensions and scholarships are not coming to my bank in time, I am saying. They are months late sometimes. In a few cases, they are two years late. How will having Aadhaar change that? Also, how will Aadhaar know who is poor and who is not poor? Poor and rich, I am thinking, don’t have different fingerprints. Not to worry, my neighbour is telling me. Aadhaar will know everything about you, where you go, what you buy, all your hanky-panky. Mrs Singh will put all in computer. She can have screensaver of Mr Aamir Khan also. Her computer will be linked to many other computers and no hanky-panky will be allowed. More than 21 crore people are having Aadhaar and they will come and take cash. What do you care if they are poor or not? They have Aadhaar.
What about people who are not having Aadhaar? I am asking. Then they will bring enrolment forms for Aadhaar, my neighbour is saying. If they don’t have that also, they will bring sarpanch and hold dharnas outside your bank, that is all. Anyway, the roads are so bad, they will take two days to reach your bank, Aadhaar or no Aadhaar. During monsoon, three months, no one will come.
But I am knowing so many people who have Aadhaar cards but who are not those people at all, I am saying. So my neighbour is asking me if I have targets. Yes, I tell him, and I am meeting disbursal targets every year by giving money to MLA and his cousins. Aadhaar people also have targets, my neighbour is saying. They have to give so many cards every month. So some fictitious fellows and non-Indians may have come in. But you do not worry. You open account. And they will withdraw money from ATM.
ATM? What ATM? I am saying. There will be many ATMs, my neighbour is explaining, that will go in cars from village to village and people will take out cash from them. But where will cash in the ATMs come from? I am asking. What do you care? He is telling me. Private sector is there. Will that be real cash? I am asking. Mostly, he is saying. You are not hearing of white-label ATMs? Now you don’t have to be bank to set up ATM.
Also panchayats and cooperative societies will be giving the cash, so you need not worry about only three clerks and no security guard. You will only be sending report on computer. But all panchayats and cooperative societies are run by my MLA and his cousins, I am telling, so there will be hanky-panky! But my neighbour is saying, no. No hanky-panky possible when technology is there. People can want to be badmaash, but telephone and computer will not allow. Only big people will be able to continue to do badmaashi now. You are kis khet ki mooli?
All this time, my friend who is guide for poverty tourism is listening and downloading ring tunes. He is now saying, but cash transfer is already happening in many states. With own eyes I saw. In Bihar and Orissa, they are giving money for cycles and school uniforms. In other states also. Lots of bearded firangs in SUVs are coming and taking video. So what is new?
No game change, my foolish neighbour is then saying. The British will win in Kolkata also.
So, sir, I am scratching my head only about this. Also, sir, can I meet my disbursal targets if MLA and cousins don’t have Aadhaar cards? I am not wanting any untoward incidents, sir. I am small man.

Sandipan Deb is a senior journalist and editor who is interested in puzzles of all forms.