Odishatv Bureau

Bhubaneswar: Opposing Centre's move to introduce Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) compliant system for disbursement of pensions under National Social Assistance Programme (NSAP) scheme, the Odisha government on Thursday urged the Centre not to impose the bank payment system in the interest of vulnerable beneficiaries.

In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said the payment through banks would cause unavoidable hardship to the beneficiaries.  "Any imposition of the system of bank payment will cause undue and unavoidable hardship to the vulnerable beneficiaries. I am sanguine you would appreciate the special circumstances of the State and not impose conditions on release of funds which may militate against the interest of the beneficiaries," Patnaik stated.

The letter further read that disbursement of pension in cash serves the purpose of beneficiaries in view of fragile nature of banking network and telecommunication prevailing in the State. It clarified that NSAP guidelines clearly stated that disbursement of pension must be done as per the choice and convenience of the beneficiaries.

The CM said the State has conducted a study of the beneficiaries and found that pensioners are not willing to accept pension through banks and post offices.

He further apprised the PM that 4,376 Gram Panchayats in Odisha have no banking facilities. Even the existing banks are unable to bear the burden of large number of pensioners due to acute staff shortage.

The State has been disbursing pension in cash on 15th of every month at the Gram Panchayats and ULB headquarters. The Centre on November 15 wrote to the State government asking it to switch over to DBT compliant system for disbursement of pension.