Despite the Government of India striving to expedite the direct cash transfer (DCT) benefit scheme from January 1, the scheme has suffered a jolt in Puducherry with banks posing impediments in the process of beneficiaries opening accounts.
Official sources said several complaints have come in from people in the BPL segment regarding banks demanding a minimum deposit for an account to be opened. This is tantamount to denying them a ‘no-frills (zero balance) account’, which is a violation of RBI guidelines.
The Department of Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs, which directed its red card holders to open accounts in order to avail kerosene subsidy, has received several complaints from beneficiaries in this regard, L Mohamed Mansoor, director of the department told Express. There have been complaints against private banks as well as nationalised banks, he said. A meeting of top officials has been called on Thursday to discuss the issue.
Of 1.2 lakh red card holders in Puducherry district, who have been selected for DCT scheme to be rolled out from January 1, 3012, about 85 have opened accounts. These beneficiaries have notified the Department of Civil Supplies of their account numbers, however, as of now, the accounts will not be linked with Aadhar. This is because only around 80 per cent of the population in Puducherry district have received the cards.
Bogus Ration Cards
The submission of bank account numbers has led to the detection of 550 bogus red (BPL) ration cards, said Mansoor. Some of the bank account numbers which has been submitted by BPL card holders do not belong to any of the family members listed on the cards. As per the rule, the bank account number of head of the family has to be submitted. In case he does not have an account, the account number of any other family member listed on the ration card can be submitted. When the account number not does not belong to any of the family members, it indicates that the BPL ration card has either been sold or is being misused, Mansoor said.
On the other hand, some ineligible BPL ration card holders are shying away from giving their bank account number for fear of being exposed. Already several government employees holding red cards have been detected by the government. The DCT scheme could reduce the number of red card holders as several holders are likely to get eliminated.