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Nidhi Khare, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Finance

Direct Benefit Transfer schemes will give a big push to the exercise of reaching benefits to genuine beneficiaries and help in weeding out the duplicate ones from the system, Nidhi Khare, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Finance, says in an interview with Nayana Singh of Elets News Network

You are playing a key role in driving Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT). What is new as far as this mission is concerned?

Twenty-seven schemes of Direct Benefit Transfer scheme are already running in 121 selected districts, and the Finance Minister has already approved expansion of DBT operations beyond these 121 districts. Therefore, the currently running 27 DBT schemes will be taken all over the country.

In fact, we have already introduced seven new schemes. These schemes pertain to scholarships in higher education, which will be extended across the country. MGNREGA will also be added to the DBT platform and its operations will be extended to 300 districts in the beginning.

Direct Benefit Transfer of LPG (DBTL) was recently launched in 54 districts. Please tell us more about this initiative.

The modified DBT of LPG subsidy has been relaunched with a few modifications in 54 districts from the 15th of November. This time round, the subsidy would be transferred to the bank account of the LPG consumer. Consumers, who do not have Aadhaar number, can receive cash directly in their bank accounts without producing Aadhaar. However, as and when they get their Aadhaar, they need to shift to Aadhaar-based cash transfer. From 1st of January 2015, the modified DBTL would be launched across the country.

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n the coming days, the Direct Benefit Transfer schemes would give a big impetus to the delivery of goods and services to people. It will also help us achieve accurate targets of intended beneficiaries. This system would take out duplicate beneficiaries from the system, besides increasing the outreach of DBT programmes. DBT plans for scholarships, pensions etc will help change the face of governance.

What are the challenges that you are encountering in smooth functioning of DBT schemes?

The exercise of digitising the database was a huge challenge before us, and so was the issue of Financial Inclusion, which has now been addressed to through the Prime Minister’s Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) programme. When we were in the process of making DBT operational, Aadhaar data was not available with us. But the situation has changed now. With universal Aadhaar and attempts to achieve universal financial inclusion, DBT is well on its way to maturity.

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The domain of subsidies is plagued with problems of leakages, pilferage etc. However, under an effective reforms regime, the DBT holes can be plugged, once and for all.

In the coming days, the Direct Benefit Transfer schemes would give a big impetus to the delivery of goods and services to people

How do you perceive the Digital India mission of the Prime Minister?

The Digital India mission is a huge campaign. Our experience with DBT says that if we digitise records, there will be greater recall of this data. The government departments work in silos ,where data is not shared. So, the Digital India mission will bring in a lot of synergy into the system, where we can syncronise outcomes, not just outputs, with each other.

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