NEW DELHI: After the direct benefit transfer project, the Government is now planning to usher in a Direct-To-Home (DTH) scheme to plug leakages and handover pensions, work wages and other entitlements directly to beneficiaries across the country.

Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh said the scheme has been initiated in Andhra Pradesh and the need to bring out such a programme was thought as the government was witnessing that funds of welfare schemes were getting “leaked” rather than reaching legitimate beneficiaries.

“Today (in) our delivery system…the leakage is more and the coverage is less. Whether it is food security, whether it is health, whether it is pensions, whether its is Mahatma Gandhi NREGA. You take any programme. We have a lot of money but how much money actually reaches the beneficiary is a big question mark.

“It’s not a question of money. It’s a question of changing the system of delivery and what we have started in the last one year is a fundamental reform of the welfare delivery system involving banks and post offices.

“I am very happy to say today that in Andhra Pradesh and so in Jharkhand, with help of post offices, we are going to be in a position to transfer pensions, maternity benefits scholarships, wages to the family at the family’s door step,” Ramesh said while delivering a lecture at an event of the paramilitary CRPF here.

He said the DTH is already functional in Andhra Pradesh and will begin soon in Jharkhand and “in other states it will be taken up very soon.”

“In about two years time all wages, all pensions, all maternity benefits, all subsidy schemes meant for the people will actually be delivered electronically not to the bank account or the post office but directly to the family.

“It’s really DTH, direct-to-home through the help of micro-ATMs, modern technology, mobile connectivity…we would be able to transform the system of welfare delivery,” he said.

Under the DTH programme, women, disabled, widows, elderly and students will not have to go to banks or post offices to get their entitlement.

Citing an example of non-delivery of monetary entitlements, Ramesh said he found that pension that was supposed to be given to widows and others on a monthly basis was actually being handed over once in eight months in West Bengal’s Purulia district.

“You have entitlements but the entitlements do not reach the beneficiary on time,” he said.

“There are examples galore where for getting a scholarship you have to pay ten or 15 per cent of your entitlement,” the Minister said in an impromptu lecture to the officials of the country’s largest paramilitary force which is also the mainstay for anti-Naxal operations being conducted in various states.

The Minister said the DTH scheme was being thought about as it is not only difficult to take money from banks but as “there are no banks at many places.”