Taking a dig at the State government for its stand against the Centre’s Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) scheme, Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram has sought the cooperation of the people of the State to implement the revolutionary scheme.

Speaking after inaugurating Indian Bank’s 2051st branch at Thirukoshtiyur in Tirupattur block near here on Sunday, he said it was strange that those in the government opposed the scheme, aimed at directly distributing the subsidies, scholarships, incentives and old age pensions to the beneficiaries.

“It’s your money given in your hands and why should it be opposed,” the Minister wondered, adding the scheme ensured timely payment of old age pensions, scholarships and incentives to the beneficiaries. “No one can stop or steel the money when it is credited in your accounts,” the Minister said.

The moment the Centre signed the orders for payment of salaries to the workers of Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS), scholarships to the students, old age pension to the pensioners and incentives to Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHAs), recruited under the National Rural Health Mission, the money would be credited to their accounts on the same day. All these payments totalled Rs. 1.5 lakh crore annually.

Mr. Chidambaram distributed educational loans and other development loans to beneficiaries, amounting to about Rs. 65 lakh offered by the Indian Bank and commended a handful of students for promptly repaying their educational loans.

The new branch was Indian Bank’s 18th branch in the district. It has disbursed loans to the tune of Rs. 425 crore in this district. This year, the bank had disbursed educational loans for Rs. 8 crore and it was providing banking services in 37 villages, he said.

In another function where he declared open Vijaya Bank’s 1334th branch at Kattukudipatti in S.Pudur block near here, the Union Minister asserted that the Congress-led UPA government was committed to implementing the DBT scheme in all the 700 districts in the country by this year end.

Like right to education, right to information, freedom of speech and expression, people had the right to banking service, he said adding that people of all walks of life could ask for bank loans as matter of right and the banks were duty bound to grant the loans, he said amid cheers by the crowd.

Mr. Chidambaram commended Vijaya Bank for adopting two girl children of Kattukudipatti and decided to support their education with financial assistance up to graduation level.

H.S. Upendra Kamath, Chairman and Managing Director, Vijaya Bank, said the bank had adopted the Kattukudipatti village for its all round development.