Agri Business

DBT in fertilisers: Aadhaar authentication, transaction time show significant improvement, says study

Surabhi Mumbai | Updated on March 19, 2019 Published on March 19, 2019

The survey covered 18 States and 54 districts and involved 11,281 farmers and 1,182 retailers   -  The Hindu Business Line

Servicing customers during peak season, fingerprint mismatch are dampeners

A new study commissioned by the NITI Aayog on direct benefit transfer (DBT) in fertilisers has found that Aadhaar authentication and transaction time have significantly improved since the roll out of the scheme but glitches remain and as many as 60 per cent of retailers reported that they face issues while serving customers during the peak season.

The findings are part of the fourth round evaluation between July and September last year, conducted by MicroSave Consulting.

The transaction time has improved to less than three minutes for 51 per cent of the respondents, while it is between three to five minutes for 33 per cent of the respondents. This is in contrast to a transaction time of 9 to 10 minutes during the first round of evaluation of the scheme in September 2016.

“However, in the peak season a single retailer has to serve 500-600 farmers everyday,” noted Mitul Thapliyal, Partner, MicroSave Consulting.

As may as 45.7 per cent of retailers sell manually and adjust immediately in peak season while 33 per cent adjust it later.

“Retailers on an average use one Point of Sale (PoS) machine to manage sales. They do not want to use more than one PoS because of cost and additional manpower. Hence, retailers adjust transactions to manage high customer footfall during peak sale season,” the survey said.

More PoS devices

One of the suggestions given to the Department of Fertilizers was to provide up to five PoS devices per retailer to ensure easier and faster authentication. However, retailers are not too keen on the proposal as it would mean having to spend from their own pockets for the second device and employing a person for authentication.

While the first PoS device is free of cost, the second device can cost as much as ₹25,000.

The department is now working to improve hardware and software of PoS devices and is also making changes in the POS application to generate transaction receipt in vernacular language.

The Centre rolled out DBT in fertiliser in 2017. Under the scheme, the full subsidy amount on various fertiliser grades is released to the fertiliser companies based on the basis of actual sales made by the retailers to farmer who are identified using Aadhaar card, Kisan credit card and the voter identity.

Evaluation method

The evaluation, which assessed the 14 pilot districts and also did a national representative study, used the mixed method research covering 18 States and 54 districts and conducted a quantitative survey of 11,281 farmers and 1,182 retailers.

The study found that retailers have to adjust lesser number of transactions now at just 13 per cent compared to 21 per cent in the third round. It also revealed an improvement in Aadhaar authentication and 80.3 per cent transactions were attempted through Aadhaar of which 99.4 per cent were successful.

“However, retailers face issues related to biometric failure, connectivity and server downtime,” it noted. Finger print mismatch continues to be the main reason for authentication failure followed by reasons such as connectivity and server issue.

Published on March 19, 2019
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