Karnataka became the first state to use the new Aadhaar Payment Bridge System-based (APBS) Direct Benefit Transfers (DBT). The direct benefit structure will be applicable for a large group of beneficiaries who are mostly farmers.
What is APBS?
Aadhaar Payment Bridge System is implemented to ensure financial inclusion to provide the government with an opportunity to re-engineer the financial aspect of the subsidy management system. APBS is also being used for the electrification of retail payment transactions. The system is being implemented by NPCI and it uses the Aadhaar card of the beneficiary as a central key for channelling the government subsidies and benefits.
What is DBT?
Direct Benefit Transfer is a scheme that was launched by the Government of India to ensure that the different benefits and subsidies of the government are transferred directly in the bank account of the beneficiary. A few of the different schemes included in DBT are LPG Subsidy, Old Age Pension, MNREGA payments and scholarships.
DBT will change the financial address of the farmers
After implementing DBT, the Aadhaar number of the beneficiary will become their financial address. Previously, the bank account number was used as a financial address which has resulted in benefit thefts, corruption and even identity thefts. Also, there was no mechanism to check the previous financial address of identity and bank details but that will no longer be the case. The Aadhar-based DBT will be used largely in the agricultural sector of Karnataka to eliminate both the middlemen and corrupted bank officials and will bring more transparency which will result in the direct benefit of the beneficiaries.
ABPS has resulted in zero identity thefts
In the last three years, more than 500 lakh transactions have taken place with the Aadhar-based DBT platform of Karnataka for an amount of Rs 13,200 and there have been zero cases of identity theft in the transaction making it a reliable transfer mechanism. With the help of DBT, 117 schemes of 20 departments have been successfully dispersed. Major schemes which have been dealt with using DBT include PM-KISAN State Sector, Minimum Support Price and even COVID packages. The Indian government has also been launching many other beneficial schemes like Meebhoomi and SSMMS in the digital platform for easy processing of the applications.
How is DBT eliminating fraud in Karnataka?
Karnataka currently hosts a database of 70 lakh farmers with their details including their landholding and the crops that they grow in the land. This database has been named Farmer Registration and Unified Beneficiary Information System or FRUITS. If a farmer wants to avail of any government scheme benefits, they will have to provide the officials with their Farmer ID. If they want to avail benefits of Minimum Support Price, all the verification check is carried out on Bhoomi is an online portal that carries land record and is something very similar to crop insurance. The digital verification ensures that no fraud is taking place.
An app is being developed for APBS DBT
To further smoothen the process of APBS DBT for farmers and ASHA and Anganwadi workers, the government is developing a DBT mobile app. Using this mobile app, the beneficiaries will be directly able to track the status of their payment. Further, an effort has been made to process all other government schemes using Aadhaar-based DBT. For instance, for claiming pension benefits, the use of facial recognition is being carried out in a pilot survey in Karnataka. However, currently, that project is on hold due to COVID-19.
How can APBS benefit the citizens?
APBS being a digital platform eliminates the delays which might occur due to the involvement of paperwork and multiple channels. Further, it makes the process of transfer subsidies and benefits a seamless process. Further, if the beneficiary changes their bank account, the need to make changes to the bank account details is eliminated. Simply, providing the Aadhaar number will allow the beneficiary to directly get the benefits of Government schemes and subsidies. Additional benefits of APBS include transaction upload in a secure manner, transaction routing and processing using only the Aadhaar numbers. Further, it provides the users with an online Dispute Management System. Additionally, APBS can handle 10 million transactions in a day which is huge.