Direct Benefit Transfer or Money Direct to your account as part of Election Manifesto
Are Political Parties trying to Influence Voters through DBT Method – Cash for Vote method
Direct Benefit Transfer or DBT is an attempt to change the mechanism of transferring subsidies launched by the Government instead of applying subsidies on the products or services. This program aims to transfer subsidies directly to the people through their bank accounts to avoid leakages, delays, corruption, etc.
As part of the above program, people started getting subsidies of their Gas or value of other Government declared subsidies to their bank account in the form of cash benefit.
Possible Advantages can be briefed as follows:
- Beneficiaries will be forced to have a bank accounts.
- Since Middlemen will be eliminated, leakages also will be reduced.
- As this will be based on biometric identification, fake & duplicate beneficiaries will be eliminated.
- The direct transfer allows time-bound transfers hence avoids delays in transferring money.
- This eliminates intermediaries and rents for ‘fair price shops’ because the subsidies and benefits of welfare schemes are transferred directly.
- Transparency in the distribution of benefits.
- As everyone can purchase goods at market price, there will be healthy competition between the sellers in the market.
- Chances of middlemen diverting subsidized grains to markets will be eliminated.
- Circulation of money will be increased, which can lead to a significant increase in the GDP.
On the other hand, we have to look into the disadvantages of this facility or method:
- Access to bank branch withdraw money as still there are many rural & tribal areas, which don’t have a banking facility and road connectivity.
- As of now, very few people in Indian pay income tax. So, determining the income of the rest of the citizens is still a challenge hence making it difficult to identify the beneficiaries.
- Illiterate beneficiaries are more vulnerable to fraud attempts
- Direct cash may not be used for the intended purposes and can be used in unhealthy ways. For example, the cash instead of food subsidy may be spent on alcohol drinking and smoking as most of the beneficiaries’ families’ heads are men.
- Most of the beneficiaries’ families’ heads are men. This will be a disadvantage to women as there is no guarantee that they will get their share of the cash.
Even though there are some loopholes involved in the Direct Benefit Transfer scheme, this program is an excellent way to ensure beneficiaries, if carefully implemented.
As per my opinion: Direct Benefit Transfer to be considered only in the cases of transferring the eligible subsidies and purchase rebates/discounts only. Then the subsidized materials will not be re-routed to open the market and thereby a strong check will be implemented against black markets. Also, this method can be adopted for distributing relief funds during the occasion of floods, natural disasters, etc.
On other hand, as part of the Election Manifestos and Offers, some announcements are coming from the major political parties and politicians, offering monthly grand amounts directly to their bank accounts, for influencing the prospective voters or to influence their vote banks. This has to be considered as similar to offering bribes to the voters – i.e., Cash for Votes.
If there is a group of people with low income or needy people, Authorities should spend this money on various projects to uplift their living conditions and plan projects to deploy them to have better living conditions. Thereby these people can improve their living conditions and the intended project may have some social impact on the overall development of the country.
Offering direct cash, instead of putting these beneficiaries into useful projects, may end up in to form a group or generation of Lazy citizens without making any impact on society. Direct cash receipts may spend on unwanted items where the basic intention or aim will not be achieved.
NATIONAL Rural Employment Guarantee ACT is the best example of this. The Govt of India has passed the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act 2005 in September 2005. The Act provides for the enhancement of livelihood security of the households in rural areas of India by providing at least one hundred days of guaranteed wage employment in every financial year to every household whose adult members volunteer to do unskilled manual work. The secondary objective is the creation of durable community, social and economic assets, and infrastructural development in rural areas.