Retailers manually adjusting transactions to meet DBT requirement: Survey

New Delhi, Apr 29: Direct transfer of the fertiliser subsidy to farmers is leading to some fudging of procedures by retailers, shows a study.
The Centre has expanded Direct Benefits Transfer (DBT) in fertiliser across the country from April 1.
A study done by a leading international consultancy on the request of NITI Aayog and the department of fertiliser showed a rise in retailers using their own or someone else’s Aadhaar number instead of the farmer’s to register sales during the peak season. Peak purchase of fertiliser for the kharif season starts from July and lasts till September.
The survey done by ‘MicroSave’ shows the incidence of such adjusted transactions rose from 10 per cent to 21 per cent between their second and third round of surveys. The first round was in September 2016, the second in January 2017 and the third during July to September 2017.
The surveys were done with the aim of providing the government with actionable solutions to improve implementation and preparedness for national rollout of DBT. MicroSave conducted the research with 427 retailers and 5,659 farmers for the third phase.
Such ‘adjusted transactions’ were also in the form of retailers registering all sales for the day while using a few Aadhaar numbers.
Farmers are required to authenticate through their Aadhaar numbers every time a bag of fertiliser is purchased, which initiates the process of subsidy transfer to the company.
Experts said not authenticating the actual sales through Aadhaar at the time of sales might not cause a big difference now but it goes against the concept of accurate authentication. It might cause problems when the subsidy amount starts getting transferred into the bank account of farmers.
“In one district of Thrissur (Kerala), almost all the fertiliser was being sold manually, though retailers had Point of Sale (PoS) devices and the Aadhaar authentication was being done later,” Mitul Thapliyal, associate director at MicroSave, said.
He said if one removed Thrissur from the list, the total number of adjusted transactions fell to 15 per cent from 21 per cent, which also shows a rise during the peak sale season.
He said one reason why retailers where adjusting transactions during the peak season was that the PoS machines could handle 100-120 transactions in a single day, while the peak season had 200-250 farmers visiting a fertiliser retailer.