Surajpur district became the first district in the state of Chhattisgarh to launch doorstep delivery of pensions and MGNREGA payments when it launched the project on 29th June 2019. In the first phase 212 Suraji Mitans were selected to deliver this service. These primarily comprised of NRLM Bank Shakhis, Bank business correspondents and village level entrepreneurs (VLEs) of CSCs. In a span of 9 months a total of Rs. 35 crore worth of payments have been made by these Mitans. Over time the number of Mitans have increased to 322 by engaging banks to recruit more business correspondents and involving more NRLM cadres as Bank Sakhis. When the world is currently facing the CoVid pandemic this Mitans have proved to be a boon not just to the beneficiaries but have also assisted the administration in ensuring a successful complete lock down in the district . These Miatns continue to deliver doorstep services with all the safety precautions such as sanitizing the biometric machine after every use, making the beneficiary wash hands before punching thumb impression, keeping a social distance of at least 1 metre, wearing mask while serving etc. As rightly directed by the government that efforts shall be made to dissuade people from coming out of home. The efficacy of the Lockdown depends this very premise.
The Mitan reaches the doorstep of beneficiary with a Aadhar Enabled Payment System (AEPS) biometric device. For these DBT based schemes the Aadhar number of the beneficiary is used and by getting the thumb impression of the beneficiary on the device cash withdrawal from the account is possible. In return the Mitan gets the stipulated commission for each such transaction by the respective bank and a lot of good wishes and blessings from the beneficiary.
Benefits of the project
1. With the recent announcement of the government of Jan Dhan beneficiaries getting a certain amount in their account. This has enabled the district administration to ensure that there are no long queues in the bank hence no question of people violating the social distancing norms.
2. It has helped the administration to serve the most needy and vulnerable sections of the society on priority, viz. Senior citizens, the specially abled people, widows and destitute.
3. It has helped the administration to spread the message of cleanliness, maintaining hygiene and social distancing norms that shall be followed by the people.
4. It has helped the beneficiaries save on time, cost and harassment of going to a bank which which is normally at a distance of 8 to 10 kilometres in a tribal district like Surajpur.
5. It has ensured that timely payment is made available in the hands of the beneficiaries. The effort is to make sure that pension payments of each month reaches by the 10th of next month.
No new HR recruitment has been undertaken and the already available cadres at the dispensation of the district administration have been deployed to deliver these services. These people have been trained as Mitans (friends) and have been motivated to render community services to the people which in turn would act as a good marketing strategy for their own venture as their business is dependent on the personal contacts which they are able to develop over time. The very idea of the project is that it is a self financing project as the more the amount of withdrawal by each Mitan, the higher would be the commission that she would get from the respective bank. Special efforts have been made by District administration to ensure that these Mitans become the focal point of delivery of various services to the citizens. Most of them have been registered as common service providers of CSCs. However, to motivate them and to keep their spirits high and to encourage healthy competition among them to deliver the services within the prescribed time limit the district administration keeps honouring them at various district level events. The administration also keeps giving them challenges such as share a video and win prizes for the best feedback from a beneficiary, the most sensitive in dealing with people etc.
With their high spirits in rendering service to the people even during the time of pandemic, these Mitans have emerged as our frontline Corona Warriors and have gained the respect from the people many folds and the district administration is proud of them.