Millennium Post

‘Micro ATMs will lead to massive corruption’

What is your main criticism for opposing the Direct  Benefit Transfer (DBT) Scheme?

The scheme is of no extra benefit to the beneficiary. It may benefit the ‘system’ but I am not too sure if it gives something extra to people concerned. For instance, the money was already being deposited in personal accounts of the beneficiaries for the 35 odd schemes that the government launched, which includes pension and scholorship schemes. In fact, some schemes believed in direct transfer of money like Janani Suraksha Yojana, where as and when a woman delivered a child in the
institution, she would get money in the form of a cheque there and then.

You have stated that the Aadhaar Enabled Payment System will cause mass exclusion. Please elaborate.

Their are various limitations attached to the Aadhar based payment system. You have to first register yourself and match your thumb impression. The machine, with all its flaws, might or might not register the thumb impression. Connectivity is another big issue.

UID is not an identity system but an identification system. Therefore, in many cases, it may turn out to be very problematic. The system, instead of including everyone might just end up excluding the mass.

Why do you say that this system will not help in weeding out corruption and do you think that money disbursal through micro ATMs will be beneficial?

In theory it might prove benefitial for the system if everything works properly. People who have no knowledge of what happens at the ground level have created this seamless model of cash transfer but in my opinion this will cause mayhem in the system itself. The extra steps will in turn lead to corruption and delay.

Micro-ATMs was touted as a system that will substitute cash with subsidies. The term ‘micro ATM’ is wrong and there is no accountability of people who have been hired for it. There is no mechanism to stop these people from taking a cut, keeping the interest money or giving loans. In some districts people just run away with the money. The micro ATMs can also be misused by district Sarpanchs. They can create names of their own relatives who never go for work. They will in turn start receiving money and no one will ever find out about it.

Sewa had conducted a study in Delhi in which they found that replacing food and fuel with cash made no change in their cereal consumption, but the money saved was used during medicalemergency, so don’t you think, Direct Cash Transfer is beneficial in some way?

SEWA’s study dealt with people who had no ration card. So, if you give additional cash to people in place of a ration card you are bound to get additional benefits. But people who havethe ration cards and then replace it with money might just show different results.
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