Multipurpose smart card for Delhi’s seven million poor

April 20th, 2008 - 1:52 pm ICT by admin  

By Rajeev Ranjan Roy
New Delhi, April 20 (IANS) Around 7.5 million low income group people in the Indian capital will soon get multipurpose smart cards to avail themselves of various government welfare schemes, says a top government official. The cards will replace the many cards and documents that poor people have to carry now to make use of these schemes.

“It is going to be an integrated social benefits card and will be known as the Samajik Suvidha Sangam (SSS). In three months, the cards will be issued to the prospective beneficiaries estimated to be 7.5 million,” Rakesh Mehta, the Delhi government’s chief secretary, told IANS.

According to Mehta, the government will soon intimate the Planning Commission about the issuance of the cards, which will cover around 50 percent of the city-state’s total population.

The smart cards will give the city the distinction of being the first in the country to have the multipurpose SSS. It will be fully operational in a year.

The cards will cover the schemes of nine departments like social welfare, education, health, child and women, labour, foods and civil supplies, the Scheduled Castes, the Scheduled Tribes and minorities.

“The SSS card will be like all-in-one. The beneficiaries will only need to produce this card to avail of any benefits they are entitled to. For instance, a senior citizen can avail of pension of Rs.1,000 by producing the card,” Mehta said.

The Planning Commission, a central government agency, allocates plan funds to states for asset creation. The Delhi government has got Rs.100 billion as plan outlay for 2008-09.

Mehta claimed that the SSS would ensure a hassle-free facility to targeted groups. People would not find it difficult to preserve the SSS cards, which may not be the case with a host of documents otherwise.

“At the moment, a family has to carry several cards for different schemes, from ration cards to those for availing of scholarships. The SSS card will offer solutions to multiple problems.”

According to the latest Economic Survey, there were 2.81 million public distribution system (PDS) cardholders in the city in 2006-07. In Delhi, families with an income of Rs.24,000 per year or less fall in the below the poverty line (BPL) category.

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