Karnataka govt on Wednesday launched a first-of-its-kind initiative in the country to automatically select beneficiaries for old-age pensions that will be paid through the direct benefit transfer (DBT) mode.
This model was piloted in Udupi and Ballari districts where officials enrolled beneficiaries for old-age pensions using the 'Navodaya' app.
All persons above 60 years will be automatically selected as beneficiaries of old-age pension based on their annual income. The government will make use of the Aadhaar and income certificates database in selecting beneficiaries.
Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa, who launched the project, said that the government would disburse all pensions using the mechanism in the coming days. "In the first phase of the project, only Sandhya Suraksha and other old-age pensions will be disbursed. In the coming days, measures will be taken to transfer widow pension, disability pension and others directly to beneficiary accounts," he said.
The initiative, he said, will end the influence of middlemen in disbursing pension and ensure that it reaches beneficiaries.
Using the Navodaya app, new beneficiaries will be selected every quarter, based on documents available with local administrations, according to Udupi deputy commissioner G Jagadeesha.
"This is the first of its kind in the country," he said, noting that there was a similar scheme in Andhra Pradesh. Compared with Karnataka's Navodaya project, the scheme in Andhra Pradesh was not for selection of beneficiaries, but only in disbursing benefits, he said.
Apparently, physical inspection of beneficiaries helped the government delete names of over four lakh ineligible beneficiaries. Additional Chief Secretary (Revenue) Mahendra Jain said the physical inspection was done ahead of the implementation of Khajane-II, a new treasury software. This revealed that benefits were being transferred to 3.02 lakh people who were dead and 1.17 lakh ineligible beneficiaries. "This has helped the government save Rs 504 crore already," Jain said.