More needs to be done for building climate conducive to investment, enterprise, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said addressing bureaucrats at the 8th Civil Services Day

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Sunday said the Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) scheme would not only help curb leakages in the system but also ensure efficient delivery of subsidies to the targeted beneficiaries.

Addressing bureaucrats at the 8th Civil Services Day function here, Dr. Singh said the UPA-II had made sustained efforts to curb corruption and enhance transparency and accountability in the public work and delivery system. He said the government needed to make full use of new and modern technology not only in the delivery of public services but in governance in general.

“A good example of such use is the Aadhaar programme for providing all the residents of our country a unique identity, and also the DBT scheme based on Aadhaar numbers that our government launched a few months back. It will lead to better targeting of subsidies and reducing delays in the delivery of benefits such as scholarships and pensions to the intended beneficiaries. It will also help in curbing wastages and leakages, and result in greater financial inclusion,” he said.The DBT scheme now covers 121 districts. The government has drawn up plans to launch the LPG cylinder subsidy scheme under the DBT component from July 1 in at least 45 districts.

“I think it is also important to recognise the fact that programmes like the DBT scheme also give a sense of empowerment to the people, increase their faith in the processes of governance and therefore have a far larger positive effect than could be measured by the direct advantages they give,” Dr. Singh said, asking the bureaucrats to ensure the scheme’s success.

Referring to the Right of Citizens for Time Bound Delivery of Goods and Services and Redressal of their Grievances Bill, 2011, which is under the consideration of Parliament, Dr. Singh said the proposed law would, when enacted, give citizens the right to receive specified goods and services in a time-bound manner.

At the same time, the Prime Minister stressed the importance of increasing investment across sectors and the creation of an investment-friendly climate. “The country was facing only a temporary downturn that we should correct as quickly as possible. I wish to emphasise the need for boosting investment across sectors to help us emerge from the existing difficult situation.”

Dr. Singh said the government had taken up a major initiative in setting up the Cabinet Committee on Investment (CCI) for fast-tracking industrial and infrastructural projects. “The Committee has made encouraging progress. But much more needs to be done, especially for building a climate that is perceived to be friendly to enterprise and investment,” he stated.

India’s economic growth slipped to a decade’s low of 5 per cent in 2012-13. The economic growth was 6.2 per cent during 2011-12. Finance Minister P. Chidambaram has already stated his intention of bringing down fiscal deficit to 4.8 per cent of GDP in 2013-14 from the 5.2 per cent estimated in the previous fiscal.