World Bank President David Malpass on 06 October, 2022 praised India’s Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) programme in helping people during the Covid-19 pandemic amidst India drastically increasing its DBT coverage in the last two-and-a-half years to hit a record high.
“Helped by digital cash transfers, India managed to provide food or cash support to a remarkable 85% of rural households and 69% of urban households,” Malpass has said, asking other nations to adopt India’s move of targeted cash transfer instead of broad subsidies. A look at India’s DBT record explains this.
India transferred Rs 5.52 trillion through DBT in 2020-21 when the pandemic hit the country, up nearly 45% from the previous financial year’s figure of Rs 3.81 trillion. In 2021-22, the DBT transfers rose to Rs 6.3 trillion, and in the present financial year so far (in six months), the total DBT transfer has been to the tune of Rs 2.82 trillion, as per the latest figures.
In the last financial year, nearly 73 crore people received DBT benefits in cash and 105 crore people in kind — many of these beneficiaries received more than one benefit, figures show. 319 schemes of 53 central ministries are linked to the DBT scheme. A record number of 783 crore transactions took place in 2021-22 under the DBT, which was also a big jump from 603 crore transactions in 2020-21 and 438 crore transactions in the 2019-20 financial year. This amounted to a nearly 79% jump in the number of transactions over the last two years.