As the Narendra Modi-led Central Government completes its two years of existence in power the next a few days, the Aadhaar and Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) schemes shine as jewels in the NDA Government’s crown. Thanks to Prime Minister’s practical approach, these two programmes are emerging as huge success stories.
The government has disbursed a total of Rs 61,000 crore through DBT window in the financial year 2015-16 and saved an estimated Rs 27,000 crore by making direct cash transfers for payments to beneficiaries under various welfare schemes in the last two years.
An official statement after a recent high-level review meeting—chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi—on the progress of Aadhaar and DBT programmes, also underlined that Aadhaar-backed direct benefit transfers have also helped weed out a large number of duplicate beneficiaries.
The outcomes of the meeting suggested that the platform is ready for expanding DBT across all central and state social sector schemes in a big way.
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 (for cooking gas), resulting in savings of over Rs 14,000 crore in 2014-15 alone. The government was also able to save Rs 3,000 crore in Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) during 2015-16.
“Several States and Union Territories too have achieved significant savings through DBT,” said the statement.
Fund transfers were 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.
The government is now also working on a unique identifier for non-governmental organisations (NGOs). Over 71,000 NGOs are now registered with the “NGO Darpan” portal maintained by NITI Aayog.
During the meeting, 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 fertiliser subsidy payments of over Rs 2 lakh crore in a year and also to schemes like health insurance, besides pensions and scholarships.
Aadhaar enrollments crossed 100-crore mark last month and Aadhaar-based DBT has been provided a statutory backing. Clearly, the way things are moving, DBT is emerging as a big success story of the Modi Government.