Direct cash transfer scheme: Some cash in, some uncertainty

National

Nationally, 34 welfare schemes will be covered under direct cash transfers; various districts of Punjab have been included in 11 of these in the first phase. Most of these involve scholarships for students, apart from the Janani Surksha Yojna.

Chandigarh
Not sure how it works: 'Teacher said it'd come'

Smriti Sharma Vasudeva

Sonia, 14, of Chandigarh was told her scholarship money would be credited directly into her account. She doesn't know if it has; she cannot check in an ATM, for she is a minor without a card. Finding out would involve going to the bank and updating her pass book — if she knew how to set about it.

Sonia is one of Chandigarh's 1,384 beneficiaries of direct transfers, and one of 890 SC students getting a pre-matric scholarship of Rs 2,100 under the project. She is in class X at Government High School, Sector 25. The eldest of four, she lives with her siblings and parents in a one-room house.

All she knows about the cash transfer is what she has been told. "My teacher told me I will get the scholarship in my bank account but I have no idea if I have," she says. Asked if she has got an SMS from the Punjab and Sind Bank branch where she has her account, she says, "I don't have a mobile phone. But my teacher had told me it can take 10-14 days for the money to be transferred."

At least two of Sonia's neighbours are equally hazy about how cash transfers work, or whether their money has arrived. Jyoti, 17, also in class X, lives in the same colony and her account too is in Punjab and Sind Bank. And Varsha, 15, who has a jhuggi near the colony, has an account in State Bank Of India. All they could say was that they were asked to get Aadhar cards made and give details of their bank accounts to the school. "I will go to school and, if possible, ask my teacher (if the money has come)," Jyoti said.

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