It will help people eligible for benefits flowing out of welfare programmes

Moving swiftly on the announcement he made at a public rally in Dudu in Rajasthan five days ago, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh constituted a high-power National Committee on Direct Cash Transfers on Thursday in a bid to reduce corruption at the cutting edge. The committee is expected to facilitate the introduction of direct cash transfers to individuals eligible for benefits flowing out of the government’s many welfare programmes.

The Prime Minister will chair the National Committee himself: its other members will be 11 Cabinet Ministers, two MoSs with independent charge, the Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission, the Chairman of the UIDAI and the Cabinet Secretary. The Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister will be the convenor. The Prime Minister may invite any other Minister, officer or expert to any meeting of the Committee, an official press release said.

“Leveraging the investments being made in the Aadhaar Project… with the objective of enhancing efficiency, transparency and accountability,” the Committee has been mandated to provide an overarching vision and direction, as well as to determine broad policy objectives and strategies, to enable direct cash transfers.

It will also suggest the extent and scope of such cash transfers for selected government programmes, and coordinate the activities of the Ministries and agencies involved in the project to ensure its timely and speedy rollout across the country. Finally, the committee will review the progress of implementation and provide guidance for mid-course corrections.

The Committee will be assisted by an Executive Committee chaired by the Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister. The members will be the Secretaries of the Ministries concerned and the DG UIDAI -Secretary, Planning Commission will be the convenor.

Three Mission Mode Committees — on technology, financial inclusion and implementation — will help design and implement the direct cash transfer system. The Technology Committee will focus on the technology, payment architecture and IT issues, the Financial Inclusion Committee on ensuring universal access to banking and ensuring complete financial inclusion and the Implementation Committees on Electronic Transfer of Benefits at the Ministry level will work out the details of cash transfers for each department.

The members of the Committee will be: Prime Minister (Chairperson), the Union Ministers for Finance, Communications, Rural Development, Social Justice & Empowerment, Human Resource Development, Tribal Affairs, Minority Affairs, Health & Family Welfare, Lbour & Employment, Petroleum & Natural Gas, Chemicals & Fertilizers, the Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission, MoSs for Food & Public Distribution and Women & Child Development, Chairman, UIDAI, the Cabinet Secretary and the Principal Secretary to the PM (Convenor).

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