Monday, June 17, 2024

Cash card for beneficiaries


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By Our Reporter

SHILLONG: To ensure timely disbursement of wages to the MGNREGA job card holders the state government on Wednesday launched the Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) system.

Under the new system the wages of the job card holders would be electronically deposited in their accounts and the same could be withdrawn from the EBT machines by using a smart card similar to a debit card.

Parliamentary Secretary Dr PW Khongjee launched the system in a function at Khat-ar Shnong Laitkroh C&RD (community and rural development) block near Sohra.

The latest development means that irregularities in the distribution of the wages to MGNREGA job card holders could become a thing of the past in the state.

Stressing on the same, Principal Secretary of C&RD department, KN Kumar said, “No third party will be able to withdraw wages of the workers which would be directly disbursed to the job card holders’ account with the coming of the EBT.”

Kumar said that this is also part of the financial inclusion to provide door step banking to the rural people due to less number of financial institutions in the rural areas which will integrate the people electronically.

Meanwhile, speaking during the launch of the scheme, Additional Chief Secretary BK Dev Varma said the EBT would greatly help in promoting the concept of financial inclusion among the masses, especially with only 200 bank branches present in the state.

According to Dev Varma, the need for promotion of the concept of financial inclusion is more important considering the fact that Meghalaya records a very low credit deposit ratio which is only about 40 per cent against the national average of 60 per cent besides low credit linkages.

The government had last year signed the memorandum of understanding (MoUs) with four banks – ICICI, SBI, Axis Bank and the Meghalaya Cooperative Apex Bank for implementing the EBT.

The ICICI Bank has been entrusted to implement the EBT in West Khasi Hills and East Garo Hills districts, while Axis Bank will cover blocks under West Garo Hills, Jaintia Hills and four blocks under East Khasi Hills district. The Meghalaya Cooperative Apex Bank will cover blocks under Ri-Bhoi district while SBI will take care of another four blocks in East Khasi Hills.

The state has 4 lakh job card holders under MGNREGA and one million workers.

So far, 28,000 MGNREGA workers have registered with their respective C&RD blocks for receiving the wages electronically by using EBT smart card.


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