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Cash transfer kicks off

New Delhi, Jan. 1 (PTI): The government today launched its cash transfer scheme in 20 districts, including two in the national capital, partly meeting its New Year deadline for the “game-changer” system that will see money flow straight into the bank accounts of beneficiaries.

The Centre had planned to introduce the scheme in 43 districts across 16 states from January 1 but scaled down the launch because of the slow progress in opening Aadhar-linked bank accounts.

Planning Commission deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia said it was “good” the scheme was being launched in a “phased” manner. “...Let us demonstrate that the technology works.”

The states and Union territories where the scheme was launched include Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Delhi, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab Puducherry, Chandigarh and Daman and Diu.

Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit, who rolled out the scheme in two districts in the capital, said: “The scheme is aimed at ensuring delivery of full benefit to the beneficiaries.”

The government plans to extend the scheme to the entire nation by the end of 2013. For now it will cover seven welfare plans, mostly scholarships for SC/ST and OBC students. Food, fertiliser and fuel subsidies will not be covered in the initial phase. Ahluwalia said the scheme would check “humongous” leaks.