‘Much to learn’ from India: IMF hails direct cash transfers and other government programs

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The senior International Monetary Fund (IMF) official at a press briefing on Wednesday described India’s implementation of a direct cash transfer program and other similar social protection programs as a ” logistical marvel” given the size of the country.

These comments were made by the deputy director of the IMF’s Fiscal Affairs Department, Paolo Mauro, who was answering a question about the direct cash transfer program successfully implemented by the Indian government.

“From India, there is a lot to learn. There is much to learn from some other examples around the world. We have examples from almost every continent and every income level. If I look at the case of India, it’s actually quite impressive,” Mauro said, according to media reports.

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He added: “In fact, just because of the size of the country, it’s a logistical marvel to see how these programs that seek to help low-income people reach literally hundreds of millions of people.” The IMF official was speaking at a press conference on the sidelines of the annual meeting of the Boards of Governors of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank Group (WBG).

According to sources, he also noted that there are several programs specifically for women and other additional programs that target farmers and the elderly. He added, “Maybe the interesting part is that in these examples there is a lot of technological innovation,” and highlighted the use of a unique identification system, the Aadhaar, to make cash transfer program a success in India.

“But also in other countries there is more use of sending money via mobile banking to people who don’t actually have a lot of money, but have a mobile phone,” the official noted. of the IMF.

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He added: “So to be somewhat innovative in identifying people, in processing their requests for transfers through digital means, in deploying funds through, again, mobile banking. This is something countries can learn from each other. We also try here to be a bit of a meeting place where people can compare these types of experiences.

On the other hand, Vitor Gaspar, Director of the IMF’s Fiscal Affairs Department, said he was working with India in this context, as it is “one of the most inspiring examples of the application of the technology to solve very complex targeting problems”. support for those who need it most.

According to reports, DBT transfers (Direct Benefit Transfer) of benefits and subsidies from various social protection schemes are directly credited periodically to the beneficiary’s bank account, thus avoiding the need for an intermediary body. More than Rs 24.8 lakh crore has been transferred via DBT since 2013, government data showed. Additionally, more than 90,000 DBT payments are processed daily, the media said, citing government data.

(With agency contributions)

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