New Delhi: Gearing up for the second phase of rollout of the Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) scheme, the government has asked banks to install ATMs at their branches in 121 districts by the end of next month.
The first phase rollout of DBT began on January 1, 2013 covering 43 districts. The rollout of second phase will be on July 1 that will cover 78 more districts.
"The installation of onsite ATM in these 121 districts must be completed by June 30. It should be ensured that debit cards are issued to the beneficiaries under the scheme taken up for DBT," Finance Ministry said in a communication to all public sector banks.
The Department of Financial Services has asked the sponsor banks, engaged for opening bank accounts for DBT beneficiaries, to ensure that their regional rural banks complete the process of installing onsite ATMs (automated teller machines) by the said time period.
As of now DBT scheme covers benefits like scholarships, pensions, NREGA wages directly to the bank or Post Office accounts of identified beneficiaries.
The scheme will cover 20 districts to cover LPG cylinder subsidy from June 1 or before. While rest of the country will be included under LPG subsidy from October 1, 2013.
The Finance Ministry said that "action for opening the bank account of beneficiaries without bank account has to be initiated by the banks. It needs to be ensured that bank accounts are opened within a maximum period of 7 days from the date of receipt of application from the beneficiary."
It has further directed banks that accounts should be opened in the bank as per the choice of the beneficiary.
"It has been reported that in some cases, bank branches were taking the position that account should be opened only with the service area branch... The service area branch is, however, under the obligation to open the account if the beneficiary does not want account in any other branch," it said.
Banks are required to furnish the list of beneficiaries with Aadhaar number (wherever available) after verification. They have also been asked to seed the existing accounts or open new accounts with Aadhaar numbers.
It has also asked banks to ensure that procurement of business correspondents (BC) transaction device such as hand held device/point of sale terminals/kiosk banking by the bank or by the vendor conforms to the standards circulated by the Indian Banks Association.
In order to facilitate DBT for delivery of social welfare schemes through direct credit to the bank accounts of the beneficiaries, the government has asked the banks to open accounts for all eligible individuals in camp mode with the support of local government authorities.
First Published: Sunday, May 12, 2013, 12:28