Explained! Why ‘Orunodoi’ is Touted as the Biggest Welfare Scheme in Assam
The Assam Budget 2020-21 states a "tectonic shift in governance delivery and poverty alleviation" in its estimation when finance minister Himanta Biswa Sarma announced the ambitious Orunodoi Scheme back in March 2020.
As per the state finance department, the policy envisions a ‘New Assam’ with a focus on empowering women through financial assistance that would help provide their families with nutritious and healthy meals. "The beneficiaries will receive the money on the first day of the month. The policy is for the poor and will cover 15,000 families from each assembly constituency," said Himanta Biswa Sarma.
What is the Orunodoi Scheme?
Under the scheme, an amount of Rs 830 per month will be given to the qualified 17 lakh families to purchase fundamental items. An amount of Rs 2,800 crores has been reserved for the scheme under which every year Rs 10,000 will be given to 27 lakh poor families through Direct Benefits Transfer (DBT). As per estimates, they will get the sum on the first day of every month starting from October 2020.
The distribution target shall be 15,000 beneficiaries in every Legislative Assembly Constituency (LAC); if the population of a particular LAC exceeds 2 lakhs, then the target shall be 17,000 beneficiaries per LAC. However, for the sake of administrative convenience, identification of beneficiaries will be further divided Gaon Panchayat-wise in rural areas and Village Council Development Committee (VCDC)-wise in Sixth Schedule Areas etc. Similarly, in urban areas, it will be divided among municipal corporations, municipalities and town committees Assembly segment-wise.
Objectives of the policy: Why Rs 830?
The beneficiaries will be liable to the subsidy amount to purchase different types of essential goods.
What is the procedure of the policy?
The district-level monitoring committee will prepare a list of the eligible beneficiaries as per the guidelines. An undertaking will check the list of the eligibility condition and cross-check the list of beneficiaries made by the committee. A district-level monitoring committee will be set up for selecting the candidates. The district-level monitoring committee will finalise the list of the applicants submitted by the concerned authorities. The detailed application form will be made to be filled up by the eligible beneficiaries. The concerned authorities will also collect the bank details and other information of the beneficiaries.
After approval of the final list, the list will be uploaded to the portal. After the cross-checking of all of the details of the beneficiaries, money will be transferred to their respective bank accounts. The beneficiary list will be reviewed after the end of each financial year to eliminate errors.
How to apply?
The applicant must be well aware of the application criteria and must apply for the scheme before the last date of registration. The applicant who wishes to apply for Assam Orunodoi scheme firstly needs to visit the official website (currently under development). In the home page of the official website, one will get the Application Form PDF Option. Other websites for reference include: https://finance.assam.gov.in/, https://twitter.com/AssamFinDept.
Who are the eligible/targeted beneficiaries?
1. Applicant should be a permanent resident of Assam.
2. Applicant should be presently residing in Assam.
3. Composite Household Income of the applicant should be less than Rs 2 lakhs per annum.
4. The beneficiary (nominated female member) should have a bank account wherein the name in the bank records should match the scheme records.
In case, the beneficiary does not possess a bank account, a bank account would be required to be opened prior to the date of approval of the application.
Who will be given more priority?
Under this scheme priority will be given to: disabled/handicapped, separated family member, unmarried women, divorced women, widow, poor families not having ration card for free rice and the National Food Security Scheme (NFSS) cards.
Who are excluded from the policy?
If any member of a family works under the government or PSUs, the family will not be entitled to get the benefits of the scheme. Families owning 15 bighas of land, four-wheeler, refrigerator, income above Rs 2 lakhs and tractor are not eligible along with families owning washing machine or air-conditioner. A family without a woman member is also not applicable to avail the benefits.
Occupations exempted: Former and current member of Parliament/member of Legislative Assembly, employees of government, doctors, engineers, lawyers, chartered accountants, architect, income tax payers.
How will the money be transferred?
The transfer of money will be through DBT mode. Alter validating the bank account details of the beneficiaries, the finance department shall ensure transfer of money on a periodic basis, based on the timeline fixed by it. The money shall be transferred to the identified beneficiary account only.
General concerns over Orunodoi: The issue of financial inclusion
In every DBT policy, the main concern is that of financial inclusion. It is defined as the availability and equality of opportunities to access financial services. It refers to a process by which individuals and businesses can access appropriate, affordable and timely financial products and services. These include banking, loan, equity and insurance products. The financial inclusion of the policy will be the key for the proper distribution of the benefits.
G Plus spoke to Samir Sinha, IAS, Principal Secretary, Finance Department, Government of Assam who threw light on the way ahead. He said, "The IT and the digital structure will be developed for the policy. People will have to open accounts to get the benefits." He highlighted the role of Deputy Commissioners in coordinating with the people to facilitate better deliverance of what is touted to be the ‘biggest welfare-oriented policy’ in Assam.
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