For Mumbai girl, card ‘key’ to realising her dreams

Uzma Shakeel Shaikh (14) just couldn't stop smiling after receiving a "package" at the hands of Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan on Tuesday. This will be a small step towards fulfilling her dream of becoming a "school principal".

Working in a shop till three years ago, she was rescued by the Rahi Samajik Sanstha. Shaikh was a among the first recipients of direct benefits transfer into a Bank of Maharashtra account she now holds with her mother. She will receive Rs 150 per month as "stipend" for her education. This means she doesn't need to work any longer. "I am very happy to get this card. I want to become a school principal and plan to use this money to join a computer class. I am already learning subjects like maths, English, history," said the enthusiastic teenager.

Surrounded by five other children from the same organisation, Shaikh said that instead of running to the post office every month, she can now easily access the money through the ATM card included in the "package". For her, this was a New Year gift.

Mazgaon resident Bapurao Jagdale (50), a retired ESIS employee, swiped his card on the micro portable ATM to be told that his monthly pension had been deposited in his account.

Mumbai city and suburb were among the six districts in Maharashtra that witnessed the pilot for rolling out direct cash subsidy on Tuesday. While 13 of the total 34 government schemes have been notified for direct benefits transfer, the remaining will be achieved by March. In Mumbai city, there are 21,000 beneficiaries for the 11 schemes applicable. In the suburban district, there are 29,483 beneficiaries. Ninety per cent of them have Aadhaar or UID cards linked with individual bank accounts in which the subsidy amount can be transferred.

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