The Centre is assessing implementation of Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) scheme as part of its ambitious target of bringing all subsidies under the Aadhaar-based electronic transfer system by March next year.
It has roped in newly inducted 172 IAS officers to conduct baseline assessment and DBT eligibility assessment of schemes.
These IAS officers of 2014 batch are working as assistant secretaries in different ministries under a first-of-its-kind initiative of the Union government to groom bureaucrats at the Centre before they move out to their respective cadre states.
DBT initiative has gained significant momentum in the last few months. Its scope has been expanded to include not only cash transfers but also in-kind transfers (e.g. subsidised foodgrains under Public Distribution System with Aadhaar based biometric authentication) and payments to enablers of schemes like Asha and Anganwadi workers.
“Now, the government of India has set an ambitious target of bringing all subsidy and welfare schemes under the ambit of DBT by March 31, 2017,” according to a recent communique by Cabinet Secretariat.
Currently, 74 Schemes across 17 Ministries are being reported on DBT. 71 Ministries have set up internal DBT cells which would work towards onboarding their schemes on DBT.
“The DBT mission looks upon the assignment for IAS officers of 2014 batch to study the DBT-related efforts across ministries as a unique opportunity not only to assess the DBT preparedness of ministries but also to expedite efforts for DBT implementation,” it said.
The DBT programme, a major reform initiative to check leakages of welfare funds, was launched on January 1, 2013 with regard to 24 selected schemes of eight ministries.
Through DBT all cash benefits are transferred directly to the beneficiary’s bank account.
The DBT Mission works under the Cabinet Secretariat and its implementation is monitored by the Prime Minister’s Office.
It has also been decided to have a DBT cell in all central government ministries and state governments.
“Thrust areas where DBT Mission will be engaging with DBT cells are identification of all the schemes being implemented in respective ministries or departments and freezing the list of schemes that are DBT compliant.
“For such DBT eligible schemes, further set of activities that include digitisation of beneficiary database, process reengineering (wherever required), Aadhaar seeding, automation of processes, integration of fund transfer with Public Financial Management System and Aadhaar based fund transfer and developing a Management Information System for effective monitoring and feedback will have be carried out,” the Cabinet Secretariat said.