Disbursal of Rs 61,000 crore through direct benefit transfer (DBT) window in FY16 shows that the scheme is working well at the ground level.
Disbursal of Rs 61,000 crore through direct benefit transfer (DBT) window in FY16 shows that the scheme is working well at the ground level. The government must ensure that Aadhaar-based DBT now spreads fast to other social sector schemes, both the Central and the State ones.
When the NDA government led by prime minister Narendra Modi took over in May 2014, many thought that the UPA’s game-changer Aadhaar and direct benefit transfer (DBT) scheme would be left in the lurch.
But, thanks to the convincing power of the first Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) chairman Nandan Nilekani and other top officials in the government, and practical approach of PM Modi, what has happened in the last two years is exactly the opposite.
Not only Aadhaar enrollments crossed 100 crore mark last month and Aadhaar-based DBT has been provided a statutory backing, but the whole scheme is also progressing quite well, though the coverage is still limited.
The results shared at a meeting called by the prime minister on Monday indicates that a solid launching pad is now ready for expanding Aadhaar-based DBT across all central and state social sector schemes in a big way.
In FY16, over Rs 61,000 crore was distributed to more than 30 crore beneficiaries through DBT. “This includes over Rs 25,000 crore in MGNREGS, and over Rs. 21,000 crore in PAHAL (for LPG),” says a government release.
In terms of savings — over 1.6 crore bogus ration cards have been deleted, which saved about Rs 10,000 crore — 3.5 crore duplicate beneficiaries were weeded out in the PAHAL (DBT in LPG) scheme, resulting in savings of over Rs 14,000 crore in FY15 alone – and in MGNREGS, Rs 3000 crore (about 10%) savings have been estimated that year.
While these are good achievements considering poor implementation of DBT during the UPA regime after its launch in January 2013, the real challenge is to extend it to mainly food and fertilizer subsidy payments of over Rs 2 lakh crore in a year and also schemes like health insurance besides pensions and scholarships.
The results of Aadhaar experiments in these areas have been encouraging with estimated savings of Rs 2,346 crore in PDS across Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Puducherry and Delhi – savings of Rs 276 crore across Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Punjab in scholarship payments – and Rs 66 crore in Jharkhand, Chandigarh and Puducherry in pensions.
These experiences now need to be expanded across the country and the way things are moving, the UPA’s DBT is emerging as a big success story of the NDA government.