In FY 2022-23, Odisha’s total DBT was a whooping Rs 8135.18 Cr which included transfers through Centrally Sponsored Schemes and State Schemes and almost 1.95 Cr beneficiaries were covered.
Bhubaneswar: Expressing his concern over the recent decision of the Odisha Government to shift the social security pension for old age and divyangjans to cash, rather than maintaining the existing Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) strategy, Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan today wrote to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and called this “a step backwards in our collective pursuit of corruption-free governance and efficient public service delivery”.
In a letter dated 24/05/2023, Pradhan said Odisha has swiftly adopted DBT both in central and state schemes which helped the government in estimated saving of Rs 459.96 Cr in FY-21 due to elimination of ghost/ duplicated beneficiaries. In FY 2022-23, Odisha’s total DBT was a whooping Rs 8135.18 Cr which included transfers through Centrally Sponsored Schemes and State Schemes and almost 1.95 Cr beneficiaries were covered.
“Under the visionary leadership of our Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, we have strived to ensure that the fruits of government schemes reach every individual, without any pilferage. The Jan Dhan Yojana is a sterling example of this approach. Across India, a whopping 48.99 Crore bank accounts have been opened under this scheme. In Odisha itself, 2.01 crore bank accounts have been activated. Moreover, 1,45,48,473 Rupay cards have been issued in Odisha for ease of transactions. Prime Minister Modi’s social security schemes have provided safety nets for our fellow citizens in Odisha, settling claims worth hundreds of crores, and financially aiding numerous families through the DBT Mechanism. Needless to mention Government or India has saved approx.72.73 lakh crore cumulative till close or FY 2021-22 due to adoption of DBT. These figures elucidate how the DBT strategy has been instrumental in alleviating poverty, empowering citizens, and improving service delivery, directly benefiting crores of Indians, especially our brethren in Odisha. Considering such a substantial impact, it is disconcerting to witness the Odisha Government’s decision to return to cash payments for old age pensions,” the letter read.
Reiterating that adoption of DBT has resulted in massive savings to the exchequer, by removal of fake / ghost beneficiaries and immensely helped in plugging leakage and diversions, Pradhan said approximately 2.99 crore beneficiaries are being paid monthly pension through their bank accounts under the NSAP of Government of India. Similarly in Odisha also, 20,95,695 beneficiaries are being provided with benefits through the DBT mechanism, eliminating any possibility of corruption. “You would appreciate the fact that cash payments, historically, have had tendencies to spur corruption, pilferage, and exploitation of beneficiaries by middlemen. The recent decision of Government of Odisha to pay out cash, I fear, may revive these grim scenarios, adding burdens to our elderly citizens. Keeping in mind of our commitment to maintain transparency and rooting out corruption, I urge you to continue the DBT mechanism for payment of pension to old age, widow and divyangjans in Odisha and review the decision of cash payout,” he urged.