States to get sops based on Aadhaar’s DBT platform

The Centre has requested all States and Union Territories to set up direct benefit transfer cells.  

The Centre is considering special incentives for States that take the lead in embracing the Aadhaar-based direct benefit transfer platform for delivering subsidies to the poor and succeed in saving taxpayer money by eliminating leakages.

So far, the government has transferred Rs.1.02 lakh crore under 74 central schemes to about 30 crore beneficiaries through the direct benefit transfer or DBT system, resulting in huge savings, Union Electronics and Information Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said.

“We have been able to save Rs.36,500 crore of State and Central government funds that was sought to be pilfered or taken away by those that were not entitled for it. If we could do this in the past two years, how many more thousands of crore would we save if we go for DBT in a big way?” Mr. Prasad asked, urging state governments to play a pro-active role.

Detect fraud

Cabinet Secretary P.K. Sinha said that the DBT regime has helped detect fraud and yielded significant savings for the exchequer, but needs to be scaled up across the country to realise its true potential. “A co-ordinated approach is needed between the Centre and the States to enable smooth transition of all schemes to DBT. The government is considering special incentives for those states that have done good work in terms of eliminating leakages and maximising savings through the use of Aadhaar-based DBT across schemes,” Mr. Sinha said. “Thus, a good part of the savings accruing from DBT implementation would be shared with the States.”

The cabinet secretary, who has also written to State Chief Secretaries to adopt the DBT regime following Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s request on the same lines to Chief Ministers at the recent Inter State Council Meeting, said that the DBT framework has led to increased public trust in government schemes and enhanced transparency and accountability.

The law and IT minister asked State officials to champion the cause with their political bosses, and pointed out that even though the BJP had questioned the Aadhaar project during the Lok Sabha election campaign, it has embraced it after coming into power and taking a pragmatic look at its utility.

“I always say there are politicians with an open mind if they are told what is right and wrong. Let me tell you, a lot of my friends in the party were sceptics about Aadhaar in their campaigning,” Mr. Prasad said.

“Obviously, the PM is always open to new ideas and he could appreciate and realise the game-changing potential of the Aadhar platform and the rest is history. How fast we have rolled it out and removed the bottlenecks facing it,” he said, referring to the 100 crore people who now have Aadhaar numbers backed by a law.

‘Ideology neutral’

“A former PM of India once said that I send one rupee from Delhi but only 15 paise reaches the beneficiary on the ground. Can we today ensure that if Delhi or Lucknow sends a rupee, it reaches the poor intact?”

Mr. Prasad said, stressing that the DBT approach is ‘ideology neutral, Centre-State neutral, but only beneficiary positive.’ The Centre has requested States and union territories to set up DBT cells and set a deadline for union territories to dovetail their schemes with the DBT platform by September 30.

States have been requested to adopt the DBT platform completely by March 2017. A national DBT portal, which will be an aggregator for all DBT schemes is also being unveiled.

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Printable version | Mar 5, 2021 12:34:00 AM |

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