A Memorandum of Understanding was signed Tuesday between the State Government and the J&K Bank Limited with B. B. Vyas, Principal Secretary, Finance and Mushtaq Ahmad, Chairman/Chief Executive Officer, J&K Bank inking the document, in presence of A.R.Rather, Minister for Finance & Ladakh Affairs. Secretary, Social Welfare Department and representative of Commissioner Secretary, S&T / IT Department were also present on the occasion.
The MoU envisages implementation of Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) / Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) Scheme in the State for transfer of government entitlements under various Central Sector/Centrally Sponsored Schemes, directly into the beneficiaries’ accounts. J&K Bank has been designated as the Leader Bank in all the 22 districts of the State.
J&K Bank Chairman & CEO, Mushtaq Ahmad while commenting on the MoU said, “We are fully equipped to shoulder the responsibility and ensure hassle free transfer of government entitlements directly into the accounts of the beneficiaries opened in different banks operating in the districts.” The chairman revealed that the envisaged model for the roll out of the Scheme is ‘one district – many banks – one leader bank’.
Pursuant to a substantive decision taken in this behalf in the Special Meeting of SLBC held at Srinagar on 8th May, 2013, which was presided over by the Governor, Reserve Bank of India with Chief Minister, J&K as the Chief Guest, the Scheme in the first phase is being launched in six pilot districts of the State viz. Ganderbal, Jammu, Kargil, Leh, Rajouri and Srinagar. In the pilot phase, the beneficiaries of IGNOAPS – an Old Age Pension Scheme – are being covered under DBT/EBT roll out. After the first phase roll out in 6 districts, the remaining 16 districts will also be covered by EBT in quick succession for the benefit of entire IGNOAPS beneficiary population of the State numbering about 1, 30,000 presently.
Planning Commission of India has so far launched DBT/EBT Scheme in 121 districts across the nation where significant enrolment work under Aadhaar or National Population Register has been done. However, none of the districts from J&K was covered. Significantly; the State Government has taken this initiative ahead of the formal launch of the Scheme in the State by the Planning Commission of India.
This historic decision of the State Government is being seen as an important leap in the direction of ‘good governance’ and a proactive approach exhibited by the State Government in benefiting well over ten lakh beneficiaries through seamless transfer of government entitlements, whether in the form of cash, benefit or subsidy, directly into their bank accounts across the State. Planning Commission of India has identified 29 Central schemes to be covered under DBT/EBT, of which about 23 schemes are being implemented in the State presently. Besides Central Sector schemes, Integrated Social Security Scheme (ISSS), a state scheme, having beneficiary population of about four lakhs is also proposed to be covered under DBT/EBT.
The Administrative Departments entrusted with implementation of these schemes in the State have been designated as the ‘Nodal Departments’ responsible for the smooth implementation of the DBT/EBT Scheme, with State IT Department extending services for the backroom IT solutions / development of applications, to the Nodal Departments in this regard. All the other Central Sector/Centrally Sponsored Schemes under implementation in the State are also being targeted to be covered by EBT in a phased manner, by 31st July, 2014.
The Directorate of Census Operations, J&K has already made substantial progress in the National Population Register (NPR) enrolments in 16 districts of the State. Once the enrolment exercise is complete, this NPR data for the State will be utilised by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) for the generation of ‘Aadhaar’ for the people of the State, including the beneficiaries of government entitlements. This will pave way for the banks to do the Aadhaar seeding of beneficiaries’ accounts in due course.