With an eye on elections, the UPA has virtually launched blitzkrieg to roll out Aadhaar-enabled direct benefit transfer (DBT), meant to transfer subsidies and entitlements to the bank accounts of beneficiaries, reports fe Bureau in New Delhi. Finance minister
P Chidambaram told Doordarshan on Thursday that cooking gas subsidy would be transferred to all customers by December-end and that pilot projects for the MGNREGA will be rolled out in select districts in October. Chidambaram said his ministry has issued an advisory to the all banks to approach beneficiaries for their Aadhaar numbers and seed them in bank account, given some beneficiaries' reluctance to share them with LPG dealers.
Separately, the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) has said in order to ensure hasten new payment system, its mission director would now be with the finance ministry. The shift of MD's office from the Planning Commission, the PMO said, would enable direct supervision of DBT roll-out across the country and resolution of inter-ministerial issues.
The finance minister said eventually, more complex and widespread schemes such as fertiliser subsidy and cashless payment under health insurance schemes would be brought under DBT programme, but did not indicate a time-frame for the same. Chidambaram said, government plans to save nearly Rs 4500 crore through linking LPG subsidy to DBT only. The DBT programme was rolled out on January 1 this year – from 43 districts at the inception, it has now been expanded to 121 districts. Transfer of LPG subsidy through DBT was rolled out from June 1 and now covers 20 districts. In LPG, over 2.8 million DBT transactions valued at R116 crores have taken place in 7 weeks.