(GIST OF YOJANA) Direct Benefit Transfer – A Global Role Model
Direct Benefit Transfer – A Global Role Model
- Launched about a decade ago as a transformative programme in public service delivery using modern Information and Communication Technology, the Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) has expanded to over 300 Central schemes and more than 2000 State schemes by April 2023.
- The DBT has been a force multiplier in facilitating the transfer of social safety net payments directly from the Government to beneficiaries’ bank accounts, helping reduce leakages, curb corruption, and provide a tool to effectively reach households to increase coverage.
What is DBT?
- The DBT was originally envisaged as a scheme, where the welfare benefits provided by the Government are directly credited to the bank or postal account of the accurately identified beneficiary. It took off about a decade ago in 43 districts in 24 Central schemes.
DBT in the G20 Agenda
- The ongoing Indian Presidency of the G20 is envisaged to as inclusive, ambitious, action oriented, and decisive. It has also been stressed that since ‘India is a microcosm of the world’,
the initiatives that we take for ‘leveraging technology for citizen welfare’ will ...catalyse a fundamental mindset shift, to benefit humanity as a whole. (PMO ibid.) The DBT is a shining instance of Indian innovation that fits seamlessly into this farsighted vision. India is endeavouring to use the G20 platforms for introducing the home-grown DPI-based DBT paragon to the
world, particularly the Global South (PTI 2023).
- DBT also fits into the bigger picture of India’s co-chairship of Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion, a forum where India seeks to promote ‘the development of an open, inclusive and responsible digital financial ecosystem based on the presence of a sound and effective digital public infrastructure (DPI) for the advancement of financial inclusion’, a vision reiterated in FMCBG (2023).
World praises India’s DBT
India’s Direct Benefit Transfer has been a force multiplier in facilitating the transfer of social safety net payments directly from the government to beneficiaries’ bank accounts, helping reduce leakages, curb corruption, and provide a tool to effectively reach households to increase coverage. The IMF has hailed DBT for being ‘a logistical marvel how these programmes that seek to help people who are at low-income levels reach literally hundreds of millions of people’, with the World Bank also lauding the scale at which DBT impacts people’s lives - ‘Helped by digital cash transfers, India managed to provide food or cash support to a remarkable 85% of rural households and 69% of urban households’.
Future Scope of DBT
- For a country with deep civilizational moorings and a policy approach for that seeks to be epoch making, the DBT is only a small step in a miles-long journey. Wheels are already in motion for realising the next big-bang reforms titled DBT 2.0 and DBT 3.0.
- The DBT 2.0 focuses on an online eligibility verification mechanism using Aadhaar. Briefly,
the Schemes often require applicants to submit eligibility documents or certificates issued by different government agencies and departments. Subsequently, the scheme implementing agency has to spend time and incur expenditure for verifying authenticity
of such documents.
- The digitisation and Aadhaar seeding of such documents ensure citizen-friendly, real-time, and cost-effective verification or authentication. The DigiLocker and API Setu offer convenient digital platforms to issue and access eligibility certificates in electronic and machine-readable format.
- The DBT 3.0 seeks to usher in a transformative shift in the scheme of benefit delivery to citizens. As things stand, citizens have to discover the Government schemes for which they would be eligible and apply to the concerned scheme implementing agency for availing the benefits. However, by pooling in data residing in various government databases, the State can suo motu reach out to eligible citizens and start delivering the envisaged benefits to them by obtaining their consent and willingness thereof.
- For the far-reaching contemporary impacts of, and the possibility of futuristic reforms in India’s DBT paradigm, it is one of India’s most remarkable contributions to the discourse in ongoing G20 discussions. It clearly has the potential to promote harmony within our ‘One Family’ and engender hope for our ‘One Future’.