Cash transfer of LPG subsidy reaches 5 lakh consumers

Centre prods states to speed up preparation for pension scheme

Cash transfer of LPG subsidy reaches 5 lakh consumers

The Prime Minister’s Office on Saturday claimed that the government had already deposited Rs 19 crore directly to the bank accounts of 5.14 lakh consumers across the country since the June 1 launch of the first phase rollout of Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) programme for payment of subsidies on liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) cylinders.

The government, however, is struggling to meet deadlines for completing preparations ahead of the proposed shift to DBT for paying pensions to poor widows, senior citizens and disabled people.

Singh has been pushing the Centre’s move to shift to cash transfer mode to pay subsidies and other monetary benefits directly to the beneficiaries of the different welfare schemes of the Union Government.

The first phase of the DBT for subsidies on LPG cylinders was launched a fortnight back in 18 districts in eight states and two Union Territories. The government plans to cover 67 lakh LPG consumers in the districts to be covered by the first phase of the switchover to cash transfer mode to pay the subsidies.

While the Ministry of Petroleum claimed to have achieved progress in the first phase rollout of the DBT for paying subsidies on the LPG cylinders, the Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD) is still grappling to prepare for the July 1 launch of cash transfer for the pensions under the National Social Assistance Programme (NSAP).

The MoRD wrote to all state governments, setting June 30 as deadline to compile all details of the NSAP beneficiaries, including names, addresses, ages, categories, Below Poverty Line status, bank account details with Indian Financial System Code and, if available, Aadhaar – the 12-digit individual identification number issued by the Unique Identification Authority of India.

The government has an ambitious plan to launch the DBT for the NSAP schemes in 121 districts in 26 states and UTs. But many states, including Karnataka, Gujarat, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh, made little progress in compiling the bank account details of the beneficiaries of the NSAP, which includes Indira Gandhi National Widow Pension Scheme, Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme and Indira Gandhi National Disability Pension Scheme.

The MoRD requested the Joint Comptroller General of Accounts in the Ministry of Finance to start by June 25 training the officials of the NSAP disbursing agencies, nodal information technology officers in the states as well as in the districts on the usage of the Central Plan Scheme Monitoring System.

The Centre asked the governments of the states to identify by June 20 next the level at which the payment advices for the pensions would be generated. The officials, who would issue the payment advices, would have to be issued digital signature.

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