NEW DELHI: West Bengal has emerged as the worst while new Union Territories (UTs) of Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) and Ladakh have notched up an impressive show in ratings prepared for the first time by Centre regarding Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) payouts. In a surprise in the ratings chart pertaining to 2019-20, the UTs of J&K and Ladakh clubbed together got the number eight spot among 36 states and UTs, reporting DBT payouts worth Rs 1,190 crore through over 80 lakh transactions. ET had reported on September 5 last year that the Centre was working at expanding the DBT framework in J&K post abrogation of Article 370, in terms of a wider coverage of beneficiaries and extending the number of central schemes applicable to the erstwhile state, to ensure subsidies reach the people without leakages. Till then by August 2019, the DBT payout in J&K in 2019-20 stood at only Rs 44 crore but a host of central schemes were extended to the two new UTs subsequently.
The ratings have ranked states according to DBT payouts compared to their population. Many states like West Bengal do not implement several central schemes in which subsidies are involved. Hence, Trinamool Congress-ruled state was the worst at 36th spot, reporting DBT payouts of Rs 8,793 crore through 5 crore transactions. It was way behind number 5 ranked Uttar Pradesh which is double in terms of population but reported six times more payout of Rs 42,000 crore through 36 crore transactions in this fiscal year. Small states like Haryana & Uttarakhand emerged as the best states at 1st and second positions, respectively. Haryana, whose population is one-fourth of West Bengal, reported Rs 4,782 crore DBT payout in over 4 crore transactions.
The central DBT scheme covers as many as 439 schemes run by 56 ministries and departments and over Rs 2.25 lakh crore has been paid out in the country in the present financial year. The government has claimed that it saved nearly Rs 28,700 crore in the first nine months, by transferring a host of subsidies directly into the bank accounts of the beneficiaries. As much as Rs 19,263 crore of these savings till end-December have accrued due to the DBT-linked public distribution system (PDS).
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