Maharashtra to link its schemes for the poor with Aadhaar

To promote cashless transactions in the wake of demonetisation, the state cabinet on Tuesday decided to transfer the amount related to all its schemes into the accounts of beneficiaries by linking it to Aadhaar.

The cabinet on Tuesday gave its nod to bring a bill to make Aadhaar number mandatory for authentication of the beneficiary.

The state gives direct benefit transfer (DBT) for various schemes including scholarship, payments of employment guarantee scheme, pension and subsidy on cooking gas. The government extends 44 benefits in cash including pipeline for cooking gas, tarpaulin for farmers, textbooks, agricultural pumps, seeds, pesticides and agriculture equipment. It has now decided to credit cash into the accounts of the beneficiary.

The state has earmarked an outlay of Rs4,322 crore for DBT of 161 schemes. The government is expecting substantial savings by plugging leakages owing to bogus beneficiaries. Around 10.96 crore people in the state have Aadhaar numbers, although the enrollment in the age groups of 0 to 5 years is negligible.

The scheme was adopted by the Central government last year. It helped in saving Rs36,500 crore. “When we decided to transfer cash instead of distributing bicycles to students, the students could buy better quality cycles. In some cases, the students purchased expensive cycles by adding their money to the fund provided by us,” said finance minister Sudhir Mungantiwar.

The minister said they will have get a system to curb misuse of the new form of benefit transfers. “The mechanism will ensure cash is utilised for goods it meant for. The beneficiaries will be held accountable with the responsibility of bonafide use on them. In a way, we are extending faith in consumers by handing over the cash to them,” he said.

Mungantiwar said, “We have taken the initiatives to promote the cashless economy, now it is the responsibility of wealthier people to use plastic money.”