In a major initiative to prevent frauds in the implementation of social welfare schemes for the weaker sections of the society, the first phase of the Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) scheme would be launched on January 1, 2013 in 51 districts across 16 states in the country. The scheme would ensure electronic transfer of the subsidies, pensions and other economic benefits directly to the bank accounts of the beneficiaries eliminating the menace of middlemen and exploitation from the babudom.
Announcing this after chairing a meeting of chief ministers of southern states and CEOs of public sector banks and financial institutions in the city, Union finance minister P Chidambaram said deliverance of economic benefits like pensions, various subsidies, scholarships and wages of rural employment guarantee schemes would be effected through electronic transfer of funds directly to the bank accounts of the beneficiaries.
Chief ministers, Jagadish Shettar of Karnataka, N Kiran Kumar Reddy of Andhra Pradesh and N Rangasamy of Puducherry attended the meeting , while Tamil Nadu and Kerala were represented by their finance Ministers O Panneerselvam and K M Mani respectively.
Chidambaram instructed the banks and district administration in the respective districts to fully gear for effective implementation of the programme from January 1. The scheme would be launched in three districts of Karnataka in the first phase.
The finance minister was full praise for performance of the southern states compared to northern or any other regions in the country in terms of flow of agriculture credit, education loans to students and credit to weaker sections, among others.
Kerala finance minister Mani urged Chidambaram to push the Goods and Services Tax (GST) forward and see that it is implemented at the earliest. But Chidambaram pointed out that the GST issue is still pending before two committees set up some time ago.