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What is DBT Agriculture in India?

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DBT Agriculture in India

Agricultural sector is the backbone of our country, because it provides us with resources without which no living beings could ever exist. The farmers face a lot of challenges in growing the food crops, either are climate change, pests & diseases, irrigation or investment. Farmers invest a lot in their farms and when it gets destroyed they become so helpless because it is the only source of their income.

Our government has started many schemes for these farmers to help them with scholarships and pensions for investing in their farms, making them live a sustainable life.


Here in this article we are going to study about one such scheme, i.e Direct Benefit Transfer which is abbreviated as DBT.


Let us start to know About DBT

Direct Benefit transfer was launched on 1st January,2013 under the former government. The program was launched in the selected cities by the former union minister for rural development and former Chief minister of Andhra Pradesh, N. Kiran Kumar Reddy inaugurated the scheme at Gollaprolu in the east Godavari district on 6th January,2013.

The first phase of DBT was launched in 2014 in 43 districts, with an objective to provide scholarships and social security pension initially, but later in December 2014, it expanded across the nation. MGNREGA was also brought under DBT along with 34 other schemes.

Electronic payment framework was laid down on 13.2.2015 and 19.2.2015. This framework was to be followed by all ministries / departments and their attached institutions / PSUs and is applicable on all central sector / centrally sponsored schemes (CSS) and for all the schemes where components of cash are transferred to the beneficiaries individually.

Objective of DBT

 The primary objective of this program was to effectively transfer all the funds to the needy that are below the poverty line, without much difficulty. It was created to bring transparency and terminate the stealing up of funds by the corrupt officials. In this form of system, the government of India aims to make funds directly available to the beneficiaries, removing any malpractices. DBT has reformed the traditional methods to a process that is much faster, simple and much more secure by removing the intermediaries and duplicate/fake identities of beneficiaries.

Categories of schemes covered under DBT

  1. Cash transfer to individual beneficiary

 In these types of schemes, cash benefits are directly transferred by the government to the individual person in need. It can happen through different mediums. For example, the government can send financial aid to a chosen person through a state treasury account or through an implementing agency which is appointed for the given work.

Some examples of this particular category are – PAHAL, MGNREGA, NSAP etc.

  1. In kind transfer from Government to individual Beneficiary

In this category of schemes, kind benefits are given by the government to any individual person through an intermediate agency. The agency acts as a medium between the government and unprivileged citizens. The unique feature about ‘In kind transfer’ from the government is that it usually procures the goods and also bears the cost to procure the goods. Then the goods are made available to the needy free of cost or at any subsidized rates.

Some examples of these are – SSA, Mid-day meals, assistance for the state for control of animal disease etc.

  1. Other transfers

Other than these two major categories of mode of transfer, there is a third kind of money transfer through which the government of India sends the financial aid to multiple different non-government organizations who help in the proper execution of multiple government schemes aimed at elevating the under-priviledged sections of the Indian society.

For example, Asha workers under NHM and Anganwadi workers under ICDS they are not given  beneficiaries themselves but are given wages, training and incentives.

Enablers of DBT

DBT is a nationwide program which is implemented throughout every district in a country, which is scheduled to overtake China as the most populous country in the world. In order to ensure efficient and desirable results through DBT, there are a few important points which must not be ignored.

The key critical points to ensure success in implementation of DBT are:

  1. JAM Trinity

The full form of JAM is Jan Dhan, Aadhar and Mobiles. This is one of the key enablers of DBT through which the government ensures a smooth rollout of DBT. The technological prowess offered by this trinity enables the government to transfer benefits to the underprivileged people in a timely and well targeted manner.

  1. Business Correspondents (BC) Infrastructure

Reserve Bank of India introduced Business Correspondents/ Banking Correspondents (BC) as an efficient alternative to brick and mortar banks. BC is presently authorized to offer services where a bank does not have a branch. In a heterogenous developing country like India, there are many backward rural places which do enjoy the privilege of having a bank near for financial aid. As per the data collected in 2011, there are 23,333 villages with a population above 5000 and 1,19,761 villages with a population of above 2000. However, there are only 11,224 villages in the country with a population of above 5000 to have a bank branch in it. In order to ensure that every part of the country enjoys the advantages offered by the government to them, regardless of the fact of how underdeveloped that particular place is.

  1. Payments Bank

A Payments Bank is similar to any other bank operating in an urban or rural area with a distinctive feature that it operates on a smaller level as compared to any other regular banks. Another distinctive feature about these types of banks is that they can carry out most banking operations and enable transfer and remittances through a smart phone but it cannot lend loans or issue credit cards. The main objective of the payments bank is to let somebody use fiscal services to the small business, low-income households in a technology driven environment.

  1. Mobile Money

Mobile money is a fast moving way of payment in the country and could be beneficial to carry out cashless transactions over mobile platforms using Aadhar as identifiers.

Schemes under Direct Benefit Transfer

There are as many as 317 schemes under Direct Benefit Transfer that remain in news.

Some agriculture related schemes are:

  • Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana
  • National Food Security Mission
  • National Mission for Sustained Agriculture – NMSA – Rainfed Area Development
  • National Livestock Mission.
  • PM Kisan
  • Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana

Some other non-agriculture schemes are:

  • Swachh Bharat Mission Gramin
  • Atal Pension Yojana
  • Pradhan Mantri Shram Yogi Mann-Dhan (PM-SYM)
  • Green India Mission National Afforestation Programme
  • Khelo India
  • Deen Dayal Upadhyay Grameen Kaushalya Yojna 

DBT in Agriculture

 The central and state governments have been implementing various schemes for the welfare and up liftmen of the farmers of India. Agricultural sector is the main employer in India. Over the last decade, India has experienced sustained economic growth, bringing opportunities and prosperity to millions of people. The World Bank estimates that the extreme poverty rate decreased from 46 % to 13.4 % over the course of two decades but it is also a proven fact that this has not occurred equally. The agriculture growth in India has just grown between 2-3 % as compared to the average growth of 7-8 % of GDP in India.

According to an article published in Hindustan Times, over 20 % of our farmers live below the poverty line. A report published in the website of the World Bank says, agriculture can help reduce poverty and uplift and improve the food security for 80 % of the world’s poor. Agriculture is a very crucial and important sector especially in a developing country like India, where a majority of the population relies on agriculture for its livelihood. Many of the government schemes are dedicated solely towards the farmers, therefore DBT plays a vital role as medium between the government and the farmers.

Documents essential for any farmer to register for the DBT Agriculture:

  • Aadhar card- To identify the beneficiary
  • Passport size photo of the farmer
  • Copy of first page of bank passport
  • Any ID proof (Aadhar card / Driving license / Voter ID card / PAN Card)
  • Copy of Caste category certificate in case of SC/ST/OBC
  • Right of Record (ROR) of land while adding land details.

Benefits of using DBT

The following benefits are associated with DBT:

  • With the subsidies directly credited to the bank accounts of the beneficiaries, middlemen’s role would be of least importance in this programme. The malpractices and corruption practiced by these middlemen would be eliminated, thus bringing prosperity for the farmers.
  • With Aadhar cards linked directly to the bank accounts of the beneficiaries, the duplicate and fake accounts would be eliminated in this process and the actual citizens deserving the benefits could obtain it.
  • Operational costs incurred additionally by the government would be reduced to a great extent with the elimination of the middlemen.
  • The Indian government has long been advocating for a cashless economy. The DBT scheme is expected to be a step forward in facilitating a cashless economy in rural areas of the country.

Challenges faced while using DBT

DBT ensures many benefits to the farmers, but it also has some restrictions which cannot be left unseen.

The challenges faced are:

  • Despite the fact the government of India has initiated several beneficial schemes for the upliftment of the Indian farmers, a major section of them is still compelled to live below the poverty line because many of the farmers do not know about such government schemes.
  • With the help of direct cash transferred into the account of the beneficiaries, there is no assurance of the funds to be used in an adequate manner. Many farmers, especially in the rural areas, are addicted to alcohol and tobacco.
  • The schemes under the DBT are implemented on a nationwide scale. India still lacks the basic infrastructure to pull such kinds of schemes in an efficient manner.
  • There is a lack of empirical research of designing and implementation of DBT programmes. Delivery mechanisms fail to account for beneficiary choices as farmers typically don’t take part in the planning process.
  • Subsidies are often distributed unequally and large farms tend to benefit more from it.


DBT is a revolutionary step towards the improvement and upliftment of the people living below the poverty line through the means of several government schemes aimed at assisting the beneficiaries in several different ways, specially to the poor farmers. Agricultural sector is the backbone in a heterogeneous country like India. Several farmers cannot survive without the aid given to them by the government. Prior to the DBT, poor innocent farmers were the victims of the malpractices of corrupt middlemen. There are some hurdles in implementing the DBT which need to be addressed in order to make it more efficient, and reliable for the beneficiaries. 

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