Tuesday, June 25, 2013


The so called Direct Cash Transfer Scheme (now being rechristened as Direct Benefit Transfer, (DBT) is going to be one of the greatest scams this country has ever seen if many observers who have been warning the government of India not to go ahead with this madness are to be take seriously. With every citizen becoming allergic to every government agency in this country due to the insensitivity, callous disrespect to the sufferings of the citizen, inordinate delay in delivering services which are their right under the constitution and anarchy inherent in the system, will DBT be different? Even for reddressal of a simple complaint it takes ages and umpteen number of pilgrimage to the cozy office of the "Sarkari Babus" to get an attentive ear, let alone solving the same! How can DBT be different though tall promises are being made on the eve the forthcoming general election? The UIDAI which normally can be a good thing for a country like India for a citizen to prove his or her identity, the way it is being promoted raises many uncomfortable questions! Here is critic's commentary on DBT which is really incisive and eye opening.   

Is the DBT scheme driven by some such extraordinary popular (or perhaps unpopular) delusion? It would appear so. Alternatively, it could be legerdemain. The latter appears more likely. The 'madness of crowds' could be sensed in the queues that line up for enrolment in UID fearing loss of LPG subsidy. The prophecy of the UIDAI chief that the 'voluntary' UID, "would become ubiquitous" and "service-providers may ask for it" is being fulfilled right before our eyes. Voluntariness of UID has become a cruel joke. The government / UIDAI justifies or rationalises DBT using Aadhaar numbers linked to bank accounts  saying that crediting subsidies into bank accounts of domestic LPG consumers would prevent leakages of subsidies. This again, is an assumption without any 'aadhaar' (foundation). Subsidy leakages of the order of Rs 12,000 crore are sometimes bandied about, though no one has said how the figure was arrived at and why no action has been taken so far, if such large-scale abuse is a fact. Significantly, the minister for petroleum made no mention of Aadhaar in his speech at the launch of the LPG portal, but said, "the need to curb unauthorised use of LPG for commercial purposes has become acute." The LPG portal creates transparency, which would prevent unauthorised use of LPG. If so, what is the purpose of DBT?

Millions of people in this country are going to suffer because the so called electronic pay out towards subsidy is unlikely to work efficiently with hundreds of loopholes and "system failures" very often cited by institutions like banks for the delay to their customers. Where will the citizen go if the subsidy is not deposited promptly in his account in the earmarked banks? No where! Government may claim it has hot lines and toll free numbers for affected citizens to call and complain but past experience shows that these government phones are either dead or perennially "engaged"! Some people believe that the UIDAI is a simple ploy to reduce the subsidy burden on the government by default as many beneficiaries would get frustrated dealing with an unresponsive "babu net work", finally giving up on their eligible subsidy. 

No comments: