Linking Aadhaar to payment may deprive Adivasis of cash transfers

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Meeting the strict criteria for inclusion in welfare schemes is a daunting challenge for those living in remote tribal areas

Meeting the strict criteria for inclusion in welfare schemes is a daunting challenge for those living in remote tribal areas

A rigorous seven-step validation process introduced by the state government to weed out bogus recipients of welfare schemes risks alienating even genuine recipients living in remote tribal areas.

A woman named Chilakamma from Benavaram village in Chintapalli mandal of ASR district is a good example. Although she has linked her bank account to her Aadhaar card, her bank account is not linked to the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) Mapper, which is a prerequisite for Direct Benefit Transfers (DBT ) are deposited in the account of the beneficiaries. as part of the Amma Vodi program.

In 2019, after the YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) formed the state government, Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy introduced a number of cash transfer programs with the aim of providing financial assistance to “ poorest of the poor”.

However, the definition of “poor” was not clearly established and the eligibility criteria vaguely defined, and this varied from scheme to scheme depending on the payment architecture of the respective social protection schemes.

Now, the state government has implemented a rigorous validation system to filter out fake beneficiaries.

In the case of Amma Vodi, the welfare scheme which was part of the ‘Navaratnalu’ was started with the aim of encouraging parents to send their children to school by depositing ₹15,000 as aid money to the student’s mother’s bank account.

In order to avail the benefits of the scheme, the mother of the child must possess a ration card, enroll her child in school between class I and XII, must possess an Aadhaar card which must be linked to a bank account at their name, and ensure that their child has 75% attendance. She must also meet the other criteria mentioned in the seven-step validation process, namely: having a total family income not exceeding ₹10,000 per month in rural areas and ₹12,000 per month in urban areas, having less three acres of wetlands or less than 10 acres of dry land or a combined property of less than 10 acres, and is expected to consume less than 300 units of electricity per month over an average of six months.

laborious process

Now, the main hurdle that beneficiaries, especially those living in remote tribal areas, will face is the Aadhaar for Payment or Aadhaar Payment Bridge system under the Amma Vodi scheme.

There are two payment systems – one in which the government deposits money directly into the beneficiary’s account via Aadhaar, and the other in which the government deposits money directly into the bank account. The government prefers the Aadhaar mode of payment as it is transparent and eliminates the possibility of beneficiaries receiving benefits in multiple bank accounts.

According to B. Chakradhar, Researcher at LibTech India, in Aadhaar bridge system, bank accounts of all beneficiaries should be linked to Aadhaar and also to NPCI mapper for direct benefit transfers. The problem here is that many bank accounts are not linked to the NPCI, which deprives beneficiaries even if they have a valid Aadhaar card and it is linked to the bank account, he said.

“The moment a payment is transferred to the payee through Aadhaar, NPCI will immediately scan the database to find out which bank the Aadhaar is mapped or seeded to for DBTs. With new accounts, there is no problem, as the Aadhaar is linked to the account and NPCI mapping is also done with the consent of the client. However, there are issues regarding NPCI mapping of old bank accounts as the resolution process is cumbersome and the citizen has to go to a bank to do it,” Chakradhar said, explaining the shortcoming.

Offering a solution to the problem, Mr Chakradhar and VS Krishna of the Human Rights Forum say transferring benefits to the bank accounts of eligible beneficiaries using account payments would be the right approach.

“The state government pension scheme has been very successful because it is paid in cash. The same can be replicated for programs such as Amma Vodi or YSR Rythu Bharosa,” Mr. Chakradhar said.

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