This is to implement 14 direct subsidy deposit schemes

Banks in north Goa district, under the leadership of the State Bank of India (SBI), are gearing up to become Aadhaar-enabled to implement 14 direct subsidy deposit schemes from February 1.

The schemes, to begin with, include 12 scholarships of various Union ministries, and Indira Gandhi Matritva Sahyog Yojana and Janani Suraksha Yojana, under the ambitious pilot project of direct subsidy deposit scheme via Aadhaar card.

Sources in the SBI told The Hindu here on Tuesday that while the pilot project had been implemented in 20 of the 43 districts across the country, in north Goa it would be implemented on February 1.

North Goa has a massive network of all banks with 395 branches. The branches, which have Indian Financial Standards Code (IFSC), are eligible to implement the pilot project.

An official of the SBI coordinating with the project said that the Goa government had stated that the State had 85 per cent Aadhaar coverage. But for the beneficiaries to be eligible to get direct subsidy credit, their Aadhaar cards had to be linked to the bank accounts through EID numbers. But at this stage, this coverage is said to be only 30 per cent.

Sources in the government and the banking sector said that there would be around 6,000 beneficiaries of the schemes in the district.

A two-day training programme for State government officials would be held from Wednesday in north Goa.

Officials from the Delhi-based Central Plan Monitoring System would train them in implementing the project. As part of preparations, various banks had begun an ambitious exercise of reaching out to the poor with no-frill or “zero-balance” savings accounts.

While the State government machinery had been active identifying households which had to submit beneficiaries’ Aadhaar card information to their respective bank branch in north Goa, the branches had been preparing themselves to channelise the subsidy money through the sponsor-bank.

The other part of withdrawal of cash by beneficiaries would be handled through a network of business correspondents by the banks, the sources said.

Banking sources admitted that in many places business correspondents were inactive and efforts were on to activate them and make new appointments wherever necessary to handle the hand-held device for delivering cash to the beneficiaries.

According to a circular from the Union government, banks had been asked to open ATMs in villages (micro-ATMs) as part of the implementation of the project. However, considering the massive existing network of branches in this tiny State with two districts, the bankers were wary of the huge cost and maintenance of ATMs, the sources said.

  • The pilot project to be implemented in north Goa district on February 1

  • The district has nearly 6,000 beneficiaries