Not many in the government and among the Collectors of five districts where the scheme is to be launched appear confident

With 11 days left for the roll out of the UPA government’s Direct Cash Transfer Scheme (DCTS) promoted with a catchy tag line, ‘Aap ka paisa Aap ke haath’ across the country on January 1, the Congress government in Andhra Pradesh, seems ill-prepared so far.

Not many in the government and among the Collectors of five districts where the scheme is to be launched appeared fully confident of completing the gargantuan task of achieving the crucial linkage of Aadhar number with the savings bank accounts of all the beneficiaries in such a short span, to enable drawing of cash. On the other hand banks too have not yet this process into motion.

Stringent criterion

In fact, none of the government officials could vouch for the fulfilment of the stringent criterion of 95 per cent coverage of Aadhar cards in districts, set by the Centre for implementation of the DCTS. Though Andhra Pradesh played a lead role in enrolment of Aadhar card, no where it was 95 per cent while the average for the State stood at 80 per cent, an official revealed.

It meant a question mark over the implementation of DCTS in the five selected districts -- Hyderabad, Ranga Reddy, East Godavari, Anantapur and Chittoor. When the card itself has not reached all the beneficiaries how could it move forward with its linkage to the bank accounts, leave alone ensuring drawal of cash?

Challenging task

Many officials describe it as a “challenging task to be achieved in ten days flat”. The State’s achievement in Aadhar enrolment and use of technology in schemes like disbursement of scholarships should have given a head start but the problem is with the missing links. For instance, majority of the weaker section students whose disbursements now go into their bank accounts do not have Aadhar numbers. It means the scholarship disbursement identified as one of the 34 “immediately implementable programmes” cannot take off in the next few days.

Similarly, though the Civil Supplies Department now has reasonable perfection in Aadhar number based supply of commodities and could have experimented with kerosene, the Centre has put off DCTS for cooking fuel to a later phase, “as the subsidy component is too complex an issue”.

Lack of clarity

Apart from such instances of mismatch, there were other loose ends. There is no clarity on flow of funds from Centre to the beneficiary and how the subsidy amounts would be shared by Centre and the State and whether there would be a State-level nodal agency to coordinate and monitor DCTS. “All we know is the Centre is keen on dispatching funds directly to the beneficiaries to check leakage,” an official observed.

Confusion persists on whether 34 schemes would be spread over the entire district in one go or “piloted” in a few areas. Some officials cautioned against rolling out cash schemes in “such a tearing hurry”.