Direct Benefits Transfer scheme launches today in 20 districts
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The minister pointed out that cash withdrawal arrangements are being strengthened and beneficiaries will be able to withdraw from their own bank branches/ATMs or through business correspondents. Banks are also accelerating the pace having invited a tender to set up more than 20 lakh interoperable micro ATMs to facilitate cash withdrawal and ensuring beneficiaries have a bank account.
Chidambaram said the government will look at other schemes and subsidies that can shift to DBT mode in 2013 but will do so carefully and keeping in mind the capability of the system to cope with more schemes.
Meanwhile, the BJP criticised the announcement saying the move is another attempt to divert public attention from issues such as price rise, corruption and declining economic growth rate, among others.
"The government is trying to create confusion in the mind of common public as if it is going to be a salvation for the poor. But actually it is fooling the poor of the country," BJP spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain said.
The party cautioned the government against what it said was the "hurry" in rolling out the programme without addressing key issues.
"It is less about criticising the scheme...it's about the manner of implementation where many issues need to be addressed first. First, there is no single viewpoint on the poverty line within the government. Secondly, the government says cash subsidy will be given to BPL families but most such families do not have a bank account. It is only now that bank managers have been asked to help them open accounts. Aadhaar card coverage is far from the desired level. The government is not addressing the basic issues it should have addressed first," Hussain said.
"Today, the Congress is not even in the game but is calling this scheme a game-changer after spoiling the game of the country," he added.
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