Cash transfer not useful, say activists

But Centre adamant on implementation

Even as the Union finance minister P Chidambaram described direct cash transfer scheme as a magic wand to wipe out middlemen and corruption at one stroke, the activists do not seem impressed at all.

The scheme may also harm the political prospects of the ruling party if the case study in Kotkasin block in Alwar district is any indication.

Ashok Khandelwal, the advisor to the Supreme Court in the right food case said the cash transfer scheme, including the present one, is primarily to address the question of poor governance.

But it does not take its impact on the welfare of people into account.

He said the assessment study findings of the pilot project at Kotkasin on the cash for kerosene scheme (CFKS) launched in December 5, 2011, is in complete variance with the claim of the district administration.

The district administration termed the pilot project as a huge success and plans to extend it to entire district. Khandelwal, however, on the study’s basis believes it is merely a ploy to ‘denial by design’ and should be scrapped.

He demanded a high-level inquiry to find out under what compulsions the CFKS was launched without preparations. Khandelwal also sought its detailed independent assessment.

According to survey, he said 82 per cent of the respondents use kerosene. The range of use varies from 68 to 90 per cent depending on the area.

A demand for kerosene exists provided there are no barriers in supply.
Survery says 63 per cent households regularly use kerosene and 13 per cent occasionally use it.

He said prior to this scheme’s launch, kerosene use was 84,000 kilolitres per month for 25,000 card holders. Its use in the last six months has been reduced to 1,000-5,000 litres.

The average consumption even now is five per cent of the pre-pilot period, which is quite astonishing.    

Till date only 14,258 of the total 24,604 eligible accounts have been opened which constitute only 58 per cent. Study reveals roughly only one-fourth of the families had bank accounts earlier and the new ones were opened only for the scheme.

‘Time wasted’

Many complained that going to the bank and then to the shop was a time-consuming process.

Also, operating it at the cost of day’s work was not the effort worth taking.  
Besides, the survey said banks were not at all interested in the scheme, which puts a lot of burden on them in terms of human resource, and having to deal with very low transaction amount.

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