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india’s inchoate journey towards cash transfers

and, at long last, a good combative story.

A World Bank study released earlier this year enumerated the rot in Indian welfare programmes. About 91% of subsidised grain meant for the poor in Bihar never reached them. Only 32-51 % of the pensions for the elderly, destitute, widows and the disabled reached them.

These are holes that Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee sought to plug in Budget 2011, when he announced that, in the coming years, all welfare benefits would be deposited into the bank accounts of beneficiaries, starting from June 2012.

Seven months on, India’s journey towards cash transfers is looking muddled. Too many players. Too many approaches. There is confusion and conflict at each of the four steps to cash transfers: identification, opening bank accounts, payments and transactions.

here is — drumroll — my story on this country’s move towards cash transfers. do take a look. and let me know what you think.

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