Jaipur, Oct. 20 (PTI): The Centre today rolled out a direct cash transfer system under the Aadhaar scheme to eliminate corruption in welfare programmes, with the Prime Minister saying the government would use technology to bring in transparency.
The idea is to deliver subsidies and welfare through direct electronic cash transfers to beneficiaries’ bank accounts. This is expected to check fraud, pilferage and illegal sale of subsidised goods in the market, improve targeting of genuine beneficiaries, and curtail duplication and waste.
“Our government wants to make maximum use of technology, IT in particular, on a large scale to make the administration accountable and bring transparency, and Aadhaar is a significant step in this direction,” Manmohan Singh said, launching the direct cash transfer scheme in the presence of Sonia Gandhi on the second anniversary of the Aadhaar project.
Aadhaar is a 12-digit number for every citizen that serves as proof of identity and address anywhere in the country. It can be accessed online in real time to authenticate beneficiaries and can be adopted by various user agencies.
The scheme will be used to make payments to beneficiaries of the rural job guarantee scheme, public distribution system, social security pension schemes, LPG distribution scheme, chief ministers’ rural below-poverty-line housing and chief ministers’ higher education scholarship.
“This will help crores of unemployed people. People face problems in starting a business or (in) taking advantage of the government’s welfare schemes if they do not have identity proof, and we want to remove such difficulties,” Singh said.
“On the basis of Aadhaar, we can ensure that the benefit of the schemes reaches genuine beneficiaries and that there is no mediator.”
Sonia handed over Aadhaar card number “21 crore” to Bali Bai of Rajasthan’s Udaipur district.
“It (Aadhaar) is the biggest scheme of its kind in the world and one of the important programmes of the UPA government.... The vision behind this is very clear — to provide the aam aadmi a right of identity,” Sonia said.
“This will transform the lives of the aam aadmi. It is being used as residence proof in a few states, and this will help the government transmit subsidy directly to the accounts of the beneficiary.”
Union finance minister P. Chidambaram told the gathering: “Aadhaar is a boon for government schemes. It will help the government implement welfare schemes and programmes like pension and scholarship schemes, subsidy on LPG cylinders and kerosene, effectively and to make sure the real person gets the benefit.”
The Prime Minister said the Unique Identification Authority of India, which issues the Aadhaar cards, had done a remarkable job in a short time. He congratulated the authority, which is headed by Nandan Nilekani.
“We always make efforts to provide opportunities to people (from the) economically weaker section to grow and prosper, and this (direct cash transfer) project was also started with this objective,” Singh said.
He presented Aadhaar Governance Awards and Aadhaar Excellence Awards at the event.