Though many may have not expected, the Aadhaar and direct benefit transfer (DBT) schemes have progressed quite well, thanks to the practical approach of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Recently, the Prime Minister chaired a review meeting on the progress of Aadhaar and Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) programmes, and the results indicated that the platform is ready for expanding Aadhaar-based DBT across all central and state social sector schemes in a big way.
The government is estimated to have saved over Rs 27,000 crore by cash transfers for payments to beneficiaries under various welfare schemes in the last two years.
An official statement said it resulted in weeding out of duplicate beneficiaries.
Over 1.6 crore bogus ration cards have been deleted, resulting in savings of about Rs 10,000 crore. Similarly, 3.5 crore duplicate beneficiaries were weeded out in the PAHAL scheme, resulting in savings of over Rs 14,000 crore in 2014-15 alone. The government was also able to save Rs 3000 crore in Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme in 2015-16.
“Several States and Union Territories too have achieved significant savings through DBT,” said the release.
In 2015-16, fund transfers worth Rs 61,000 crore was done through DBT to over 30 crore beneficiaries. This includes over Rs 25,000 crore in MGNREGS and over Rs 21,000 crore in PAHAL (for cooking gas).
The government is now also working on a unique identifier for non government organisations (NGOs). Over 71,000 NGOs are now registered with the NGO Darpan portal maintained by NITI Aayog.
The Prime Minister stressed on making the DBT and Aadhaar platform error-free to ensure that targeted beneficiaries receive their benefits in time.
However, the main challenge for the government will be to extend it to mainly food and fertilizer subsidy payments of over Rs 2 lakh crore in a year and also to schemes like health insurance besides pensions and scholarships.