In yet another move to curb wasteful expenditure after launching an austerity drive in Ministries, Central departments as also autonomous bodies, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Thursday pitched for streamlining the delivery mechanism for distributing subsidised commodities such as food ration, cooking gas and all other targeted government schemes for the ‘Aadhaar' platform.

In a letter to Chief Ministers of 16 States and Union territories, Mr. Mukherjee said: “...given the huge potential of the Aadhaar initiative to streamline delivery and empowering the common citizen, while at the same time curbing expenditure, it is in our mutual interest to get these pilots going at the earliest.”

Stressing the need for a speedy rollout of Aadhaar-enabled payments for various Central schemes, Mr. Mukherjee pointed out that in the first stage, such a payment mechanism would be implemented in 50 districts spread across 16 States.

While pilot projects are being planned for distribution of PDS food grains, LPG cylinders and kerosene to the targeted beneficiaries, other programmes such as ‘Janani Suraksha Yojana,' pension schemes, government scholarships, financial inclusion, Kisan Credit Cards (KCCs) and the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme wage disbursal would also be brought under the pilot project mode.

The Finance Minister's letter to Chief Ministers of Kerala, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Tripura, Goa, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Delhi, Puducherry, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra is a follow-up of his Budget speech for the current fiscal, wherein he had announced the readiness of the Aadhaar platform support for direct payments.

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