Hyderabad, Nov 30: Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy here on Sunday, Nov 30 launched the first-of-its-kind ''Smart Card Project'' covering households, hitherto uncovered by banking services in Krishna district, for making ''electronic benefit transfer''(EBT) to social security pensioners and wage earners under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS).
In his address, Dr Reddy noted the district, where the pilot project was taken up, would be first one in the country to make the payments with ''Smart Cards through virtual banks in every village in the entire district from January.
''Financial inclusion of about 70 per cent of households, majority of them poor, uncovered by banking services hitherto is a milestone,'' Dr Reddy noted adding the ''foolproof system'' would prevent any irregularities in the distribution of the benefits as in the past.
He complimented Axis Bank for taking the initative, along with the district administration for opening bank accounts for all beneficiaries in about 45 days under the Reserve Bank of India's Financial Inclusion Programme implemented through the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD).
In all, payments would be made to four lakh pensioners and NREGA wagers from January one through more than 1000 ''branch-less'' service delivery points operated through members of women Self Help Groups (SHGs) functioning as ''business correspondents''.
In one-third of the villages of Krishna district, the payments would be made through EBT from tomorrow itself in the first phase, Rural Development Minister G Chinna Reddy said.
The RBI provides Rs 50 per smart card as incentive to the selected bank under the programme.