Andhra Pradesh: Revoke Aadhaar payment bridge system in Amma Vodi’s cash transfer scheme, according to HRF and Samalochana

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“Thousands of people have NPCI mapping issues, especially in tribal areas”

“Thousands of people have NPCI mapping issues, especially in tribal areas”

The Human Rights Forum (HRF) and Samalochana have demanded the withdrawal of the recent decision by the state government to change payment from the cash transfer account under the Amma Vodi scheme to the Aadhaar Payment Bridge system ( APB).

Speaking to selected media here on Saturday, HRF’s VS Krishna said the scheme was initiated by the state government under the Navaratnas. Under this scheme, mothers of children from BPL families will receive credit of ₹15,000 per year subject to certain eligibility criteria. According to official figures, 43.5 lakh people benefited from the scheme in 2021. The next cash transfer for Amma Vodi is scheduled for early June 2022.

However, the way the government is now seeking to transfer the money to recipients will likely alienate thousands of mothers across the state. Indeed, the payment method has now been moved to the APB system. In this method, Aadhaar serves as the financial address of the beneficiaries and the money would be transferred to the bank account linked to the Aadhaar number, Mr. Chakradhar of Samalochana said.

Both Mr. Krishna and Chakradhar are of the view that for successful transfer, the bank account must be linked to the NPCI (National Payment Corporation of India). Failure to do so will result in a failed money transfer. In the process, many potential beneficiaries will be left out, they said.

NPCI mapping is a complicated process and even the public and many bank employees are not fully aware of it. Thousands of people have NPCI mapping issues, especially in tribal areas. In addition, the NPCI does not have sufficient banking infrastructure to solve problems related to mapping.

According to Mr. Chakradhar, who has done extensive field research on this, more than two lakh farmers across the state (according to data available as of October 2021) have been unable to get their payments under the scheme. Rythu Bharosa cash transfer to farmers due to not mapped by NPCI.

Although payment failures can occur in both payment systems, resolution in the Aadhaar Payment Bridge system is too complicated for citizens and frontline workers to manage, he said.

“We believe that the decision to change the payment system to Aadhaar was unilateral, irresponsible and anti-poor. This decision also raises suspicions that the government is trying to prevent large numbers of people from enjoying the benefits of ‘Amma Vodi. Such an important decision cannot be taken without serious consultation with the beneficiaries,” Mr. Krishna said.

It should be recalled that the mode of payment of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) has recently been changed from Aadhaar to account-based mode of payment. We urge the Chief Minister to intervene, quickly raise the issue with the Ministry of Finance and reverse the decision to change payment terms for Amma Vodi, the HRF and Samalochana members said.

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