The much-hyped Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) of the Centre, set to be introduced in four districts of the State, has stumbled at the first hurdle. The districts have failed to bring the beneficiaries to the biometric enrolment camp which is mandatory for the scheme’s implementation.
An estimated 4,54,215 beneficiaries from the four selected districts were to turn up for the biometric enrolment but just 22,165 visited the camps, according to the Directorate of Census Operations.
In the first phase roll-out of DBT, as many as 43 districts in the country were covered.
In the second, the scheme was proposed for implementation in 78 more districts including Cuttack, Puri, Balangir and Sonepur in Odisha.
Initially, 26 schemes - starting from post-matric scholarship to housing subsidy to beedi workers - were included under the DBT scheme. Three more pension schemes were brought under its ambit later.
However, an important component for implementation of DBT being mandatory biometric enrolment and generation of Aadhar numbers of beneficiaries, Odisha has hit the roadblock in shape of poor turn-out which threatens to derail the whole exercise.
Director of Census Operation, Odisha, Bishnupada Sethi has written to the State Government urging a reassessment so that biometric enrolment can be completed as early as possible. The State has already missed the June deadline for completing the enrolment.
When the DBT’s implementation in the four districts was announced, the Collectors sent the list of beneficiaries for each scheme that came under its ambit.
The Women and Child Welfare Department too submitted a list of pensioners to be covered under the DBT scheme.
To conduct the biometric enrolment, beginning May, camps were set up in tehsils and town offices of all the four districts and vendors were appointed.
Similarly, Collectors were requested to provide adequate infrastructure for the purpose besides appointing an officer at the district and tehsil level each as nodal officers. “Despite repeated persuasions at this level, engagement of one officer of this directorate for each district and frequent monitoring, there is no improvement in the collection of photo biometric data,” a letter from Sethi said.
With beneficiaries not turning up for biometric enrolment, the vendors have been rendered idle. The poor turnout, the Directorate of Census Operations apprehends, may cause problems since a large number of beneficiaries could end up not availing the benefits of the scheme.