Strongly supporting the direct benefit transfer scheme for payment of subsidies to LPG beneficiaries, Finance Minister, P.Chidambaram on Monday said that Aadhar was a tool of empowerment and said a sum of Rs. 3,370 crore has been transferred to 2.1 crore LPG beneficiaries till date.

Indicating that government was committed to reforms in the pricing of petroleum products and cutting down of subsidies, Mr. Chidambaram told Parliament that he had made a provision of Rs. 65,000 crore for fuel subsidy during 2014-15.

Referring to the Aadhar scheme, he said it had been put on hold for the time being pending resolution of some difficulties that have been pointed out. ``Government remains fully committed to Aadhaar under which 57 crore unique numbers have been issued so far and to opening bank accounts for all Aadhaar holders in order to promote financial inclusion,'' he added.

Mr. Chidambaram said under the Direct Benefit Transfer Scheme money is being transferred to beneficiaries under 27 identified schemes, including the National Social Assistance Programme (NSAP). A total of 54,20,114 transactions have been put through until January 31and Rs. 628 crore has been transferred.

He said that it is those who are at the bottom of the pyramid, the poor, the migrant workers, the homeless, and the oppressed need Aadhaar and we will ensure that they get Aadhaar. Aadhaar is a tool of empowerment, he remarked.

Referring to the fuel subsidies, he said as much as Rs. 65,000 crore has been allocated for fuel subsidy. ``We have this year (2013-14) absorbed the rollover of Rs. 45,000 crore from the fourth quarter of 2012-13 (fiscal) and we will rollover only Rs. 35,000 crore from the fourth quarter of this year into the next year,'' he said.

The oil subsidies are given to state-run oil marketing companies like Indian Oil Corporation, Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation for selling diesel, domestic LPG to households and kerosene through the PDS system at subsidized rates. It is pegged at Rs. 63,426.95 crore for 2014-15 fiscal against a revised estimate (RE) of Rs. 85,480 crore in 2013-14 fiscal.

More In: National | News