Bhubaneswar: Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Thursday wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, requesting him to pay pensioners in Odisha in cash and not through banks as majority of the gram panchayats in the state do not having banking facility.
In his letter, the Chief Minister said, “Odisha model of pension
disbursement has been a subject of scholarly research whose details
were published in an article in Economic and Political Weekly in May
2014. There was a clear finding that Odisha model of cash disbursement
is the best model since it ensures receipt of cash by the
beneficiaries on a fixed day every month. Regular cash disbursement on
a fixed day of the month entails burden on state administration but
ensures the desired outcome of providing social security to the most
vulnerable sections of the population. The state is discharging its
responsibility in the interest of the beneficiaries.”
He added: “Payment of pension in the bank accounts to beneficiaries will not serve the desired purpose in view of the difficulties in drawing money from the
banks. In view of their impecunious condition, the pensioners need
cash urgently to meet their daily needs and not a deposit in the
banks. Cash for disbursement of pension ensures achievement of the
basic objective of social security for the vulnerable pensioners.”
“Odisha, according to the National Social Assistance Programme (NSAP) guidelines, has been disbursing pension in cash on a fixed day (15th of every month irrespective of the day being a holiday) at gram panchayat and urban local body (ULB) headquarters in an open and transparent manner. All the beneficiaries assemble on that day at the gram panchayat/ ULB headquarters and are provided pension in cash in open public view. Currency is drawn from the banks and carried in special vehicles to these places in collaboration with the banks for pension disbursement to the beneficiaries,” Naveen said.
The CM explained that the state government was doing this in view of the difficulties people face in accessing banking services in the state. There are 4,376 gram panchayats where there are no bank branches. In other panchayats also, existing banks have only one person handling the bank transactions, which makes it difficult for them to take the load of large number of pension beneficiaries. “The RBI circular issued in this regard to door delivery of banking services is well intentioned but needs to be
enforced by proper staffing of the banks and special monitoring and
supervision by RBI,” Naveen noted.