Direct cash transfers to start in Bengal from March

Kolkata, Dec 6 (IANS) The Direct Cash Transfer Scheme would be rolled out in six districts of West Bengal from March 1, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) governor said Thursday.

The scheme, expected to cut down leakages and corruption in implementation of government-sponsored schemes, will first be rolled out in 51 districts in 14 states, excluding West Bengal, Jan 1.

"There is no district in West Bengal among those 51. It shows that Bengal lags slightly behind," RBI Governor Duvvuri Subbarao told reporters here.

Six districts have been identified in Bengal for rolling out the scheme as the state government was anxious to introduce the electronic benefit transfer like it was happening in other states, Subbarao said.

The RBI governor, who was in the city to attend the central bank's board meet, also chaired a state-level bankers' committee (SLBC) meeting.

The SLBC meet was also attended by state Finance Minister Amit Mitra.

"In each of the six districts, benefits will be transferred through bank accounts, starting March 1, 2013. Based on the experience in these districts, we will replicate the scheme in other districts," Subbarao said.

He said that in the SLBC meeting, banks had agreed to increase credit deposit (CD) ratio of the state from the current 63 percent by the next financial year.

"All the banks have shown us that they are on track to keep the 65 percent CD ratio for fiscal year 2012-13. For the next fiscal year 2013-14, the banks have agreed to take the CD ratio further to 68 percent," Subbarao said.

He said eight districts of the state, where the CD ratio was low, had been identified and RBI asked the banks to improve the ratio by 5 percent from the current level by March.

"We have identified eight districts in West Bengal where CD ratio is below 40 percent. We have agreed with the banks that in each of these districts, the CD ratio will be improved by 5 percentage points from the current level by March," he said.

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