₹500 nutrition incentive not credited for months, say TB patients
The monthly incentive under the Niskhay Poshan Yojana started by the Centre in 2018 is given in the form of Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) to the Aadhar linked bank accounts of TB patients
Mumbai Many tuberculosis patients in the city have not received ₹500 cash for their nutrition from the government for the past five months, while some patients have been receiving the allowance abruptly.
The monthly incentive under the Niskhay Poshan Yojana started by the Centre in 2018 is given in the form of Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) to the Aadhar linked bank accounts of TB patients. Civic authorities said that the cash flow was affected due to issues with the single nodal system and it is being resolved.
“It is a very small amount, but something is better than nothing,” said Yunus Khan (31), whose wife Sehnaz has been suffering from TB since 2016 and the disease is now in an extensively-drug-resistant (XDR) phase. Yunus earns around ₹400 to ₹500 per day by taking up work at construction sites. He uses the nutritional incentive to buy some groceries during the month. “The money has not been credited for the past four to five months,” he said.
Another TB patient Sharmila Rajbhar also said that she had not received the nutritional incentive since January this year. “The civic officials had helped me open an account in the Kotak Mahindra bank and the incentive gets credited in it,” said Rajbhar, a resident of Bhandup who was diagnosed with TB in 2005. “Since I don’t have a passbook, I have to physically visit the bank to check the credit. I have made several rounds in the past few months, but the money has not been credited,” she said. Rajbhar said that she has to use the money to buy outside medicine prescribed by the doctors.
Every year, 50,000 to 60,000 new TB cases are diagnosed in Mumbai. As of 2021, the city had 5,861 drug-resistant TB patients on treatment. Good nutrition is crucial for TB patients to cope with the medications and their side effects.
“There has been some issue with the direct benefit transfer to TB patients but it is being resolved,” said Dr Mangala Gomare, executive health officer. “From August-September 2021 to March this year, there were some issues of funds, and there were also issues with the single nodal system through which the funds are dispersed from the Centre,” she said.
According to Gomare, there are about 60,000 to 70,000 beneficiaries of the scheme in the state and their details are put up in the system in batches. “Even if one patient’s information is put up wrongly by any of the districts, the entire batch is getting rejected by the system. We have taken up this issue with the Nikshay team as well as the state officials and have been told that it will take about a month to resolve it,” said Gomare.