Special counters being opened to expedite the process

The government appears to be pulling up its socks to expedite the process of issuing Aadhaar cards to all eligible beneficiaries, as the success of its much-touted ‘Direct Cash Transfer Scheme’ (DCTS) hinges heavily on achieving the mandatory 95 per cent coverage vis a vis Aadhaar card distribution.

It may be recalled that Chittoor is one of the five districts in Andhra Pradesh, out of the 50 initially identified in the country, for the implementation of the UPA’s flagship scheme on a pilot basis from January 1. But the government had to limit it only to around 20 districts or so for the time being. This was because as against the mandatory 95 per cent, barely 70 to 75 per cent of the beneficiaries were issued Aadhaar cards in Chittoor district, possibly so in the other four targeted districts of the State as well.

The Aadhaar card is an essential pre-requisite for DCTS as it has to be ceded (linked) with ‘zero balance’ bank accounts to be opened in the name of the beneficiaries, so that the government could directly transfer into the accounts the subsidies, social security benefits etc. meant for them and hence avoiding middlemen.

It is to achieve the 95 per cent mandatory coverage that the government is said to have opened special counters to speed up the process, to cover all the districts in the country in phases, possibly within a year or so.

Since the task of opening ‘zero balance’ bank accounts in the name of all beneficiaries too is yet to be completed, the banks are being persuaded to speed up the process to catch up with the deadline.

Thulasi Reddy, chairman of the Andhra Pradesh government’s “20-Point Economic Programme” has at a meeting with media persons, after a review with district officials here on Friday, sought to clear the widespread apprehensions prevailing among beneficiaries that those without the Aadhaar cards would not get their rations, subsidies, pensions, scholarships etc. in future.

He clarified that those who were issued the cards and had got their bank accounts linked to them would get the benefits directly transferred into their accounts and those without it would continue to get them as per the existing system, till such time that a complete coverage was achieved.

Aadhaar card is a pre-requisite for DCTS as it has to be linked with ‘zero balance’ bank accounts of beneficiaries