Fact check | Centre’s beneficiary count for COVID-19 relief is faulty

It fails to note there are likely overlaps in groups of recipients

May 06, 2020 11:30 pm | Updated November 28, 2021 12:09 pm IST - NEW DELHI

Women stand in a queue outside a bank to avail the benefits of Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana, during the nationwide lockdown in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, a scene at Arumbakkam in Chennai.

Women stand in a queue outside a bank to avail the benefits of Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana, during the nationwide lockdown in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, a scene at Arumbakkam in Chennai.

The Centre has wrongly claimed that 39.28 crore poor people have received financial assistance of ₹34,800 under its Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan package so far. A fact check shows that the correct figure is 33.71 crore beneficiaries.

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A Finance Ministry statement explaining the break-up of the assistance showed that the figure included 20.05 crore women who hold the Jan Dhan Yojana bank accounts and have received the first instalment of ₹500 each, as well as 5.57 crore who have received the second instalment as well.

 

When The Hindu pointed out that the women who received the second instalment also received the first and cannot be counted as a separate set of beneficiaries, a Finance Ministry spokesperson confirmed that the calculation was faulty, and that the correct figure should be 33.7 crore. However, the Ministry’s official statement was left uncorrected, at least until the time of publication of this report.

Also read | Second installment of ₹500 to be credited to Jan Dhan accounts from May 4: Finance Ministry

The spokesperson later said “approximately 7 crore beneficiaries” under the Ujjwala scheme have not been included in the statement, claiming that the count could be somewhat higher. However, none of these changes have been made in the official statement.

The Finance Ministry count of 39 crore poor people also fails to take into account the fact there are likely overlaps between the groups of beneficiaries. The women Jan Dhan account holders may also be pensioners, construction workers or farmers, who have all benefited under the cash transfer scheme, but are being counted separately for the purposes of the Ministry’s beneficiary count.

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