Government fixes 2017-end target for 100% Aadhaar-enabled DBT

NEW DELHI: Beneficiaries getting subsidies through Direct Benefits Transfer (DBT) into their bank accounts have crossed the 30-crore mark and the government has now fixed a 2017-end target to transfer all subsidies through an Aadhaar-enabled DBT.

In February, the centre transferred Rs 4,707 crore to 30.01-crore beneficiaries through the DBT mechanism, but only 35 per cent of such transfers — Rs 1,630 crore to be precise — were using the Aadhaar Payment Bridge (APB) while the rest were using the Aadhaar Payment Bridge (APB) while the rest were using simple electronic fund transfers into bank accounts of the beneficiaries, as per a report sent to the the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and accessed by ET.

“With the new Aadhaar Act in force now, government has to aim to make all payments through the APB to eliminate any chance of leakage or payments to wrong beneficiaries. There is now a deadline of December 2017 for 100 per cent Aadhaar-enabled DBT payments,” a top government official told ET.

To achieve this, the government is now on a campaign mode to complete Aadhaar seeding in its databases and DBT bank accounts which stands at 63 per cent at present. The target is to complete 100 per cent Aadhaar seeding by December 2016 into bank accounts of those receiving the three major benefits — MGNREGA, LPG Pahal and the National Social Assistance Programme.

Out of the 30.01-crore beneficiaries and Rs 4,707-crore monthly payout under all the 57 schemes under DBT at present, nearly 29.95-crore beneficiaries and Rs 4,470 crore is paid under the three above-mentioned schemes. “But only 16 per cent of MGNREGA payments are through APB, which is very low,” an official said.

To reform the Public Distribution System (PDS) and Food Subsidy, the government is aiming at portability of obtaining rations anywhere in the country through Aadhaar-enabled ration cards now by March 2017. The NITI Aayog is monitoring seeding of Aadhaar number in 90 per cent of ration cards by that date on the lines of a pilot scheme in Krishna district.
Kerosene subsidy, part of PDS, is planned to be brought on the DBT platform by March 2017. The longest target is for fertiliser subsidy coming under DBT — end of 2018. The centre will do a pilot DBT of subsidy in fertilisers in 2016-17 in 20 districts. “All this will culminate into 100 per cent Aadhaar-enabled DBT by 2017-end,” an official said.

ET had earlier reported that the government has already passed orders on March 31, bringing all subsidy schemes under the DBT — whether the benefit is paid in cash or kind, to an individual, institution, agency or NGO. The scope of DBT, as per the March 31 orders of the centre, now stands enlarged to cover all Central Sector (CS) schemes and Centrally-Sponsored Schemes across all the ministries and departments.