Three districts identified for rollout on July 1

Direct transfer of benefits, especially cash transfer of subsidy for LPG consumers, is unlikely to begin from July 1 in Tiruchi, Pudukottai and Ariyalur districts as proposed by the Union government.

The three districts were among 78 districts identified by the Centre for the second phase of the roll out of the direct benefit transfer (DBT) from July 1. For LPG consumers, one month’s advance subsidy is to be transferred to the Aadhaar-seeded bank accounts of the consumers under the programme. About 25 schemes, including many scholarship programmes, are to be covered under the DBT.

But Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, in a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in April, opposed the rollout of the scheme in the districts stating that the scheme was against the spirit of federalism and decentralisation.

State government officials in the three districts and officials of oil marketing companies say that they have not received any instruction so far on the roll out of DBT or the subsidy transfer for LPG consumers from next month.

The ground work for the roll out such as registration of bank account numbers of consumers and seeding of the Aadhaar numbers are yet to begin in the three districts.

Senior officials of the three districts, on condition of anonymity, told The Hindu that they not received any communication so far about the roll out of the programme.

“There has no been instruction whatsoever in this regard and we have not been approached by the oil marketing companies either,” said a senior official in Tiruchi district administration.

Officials of both the State government and oil marketing companies are of the opinion that it would be extremely difficult to implement the programme without the support of the State government.

“We need to do a lot of ground work as the Aadhaar numbers of the consumers have to be seeded with their bank account numbers. Special centres have to be set up to create the database of customers. We will require not less than three to four months to carry out the exercise and definitely need the support of the district administration,” an officer of an oil marketing company in Tiruchi said. The exercise would involve creating a database of over five lakh LPG consumers in the three districts.

Though the Aadhaar coverage in the three districts is estimated at over 70 per cent, the figure refers mainly to the recording of bio-metric data of residents. Aadhaar cards are yet to reach a majority of those covered so far. Most of them have been getting text messages in recent days saying that their Aadhaar cards have been generated and would be sent by post soon.

A senior official of the Lead Bank in Tiruchi said the list of beneficiaries for most of the 25 schemes, who are to get the subsidy directly, have to be collected from the State government.

The list of LPG consumers and their Aadhaar numbers have to be obtained from the distributors and oil marketing companies. “Most LPG consumers would have bank accounts, but still it involves a lot of work and in all probability the roll out might take a few months,” he said.