Aadhaar seeding to save Rs.45K crores

Over ₹6,000 crore is transferred every month as cash benefits. At present, 56 schemes across 14 ministries are already using the DBT route to reach 29.86-crore beneficiaries. Almost 60 per cent of all beneficiaries’ data is Aadhaar seeded, though around 97 per cent of the adult population already has the number, official sources said.

With the passage of the Aadhaar Bill by Parliament on Wednesday, sources said the government would once again take up Aadhaar seeding, as it expects nearly ₹45,000 crore of savings once all accounts are seeded.

“There will not be any exclusion from scheme benefits if Aadhaar seeding is not there, but the idea is to encourage it as it will ensure better delivery of services and cut down on fake beneficiaries,” said a senior government official.

Many out of the fold

A concern for the government, which is trying to lower its subsidy bill by plugging leakages, is that a large chunk of the beneficiaries still do not have Aadhaar seeding, though the DBT scheme has expanded significantly. The government is also hoping to bring in more schemes and ministries involved in cash transfers under the DBT platform.

In some cases, officials noted that the beneficiary may have an Aadhaar number but it has not been included in his/her data.

In January, ₹6,031 crore was transferred through DBT, of which, just 37.36 per cent of the funds, or ₹ 2,253.4 crore, were transferred using the Aadhaar Bridge Payment (a centralised electronic transfer system).

For instance, the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme transferred ₹3,265.7 crore to 9.79 crore beneficiaries in January through DBT. While nearly 58 per cent of the beneficiaries were seeded with Aadhaar, just 23.3 per cent of the cash was transferred through the Aadhaar Bridge Payment.

Similarly, PAHAL or the DBT for cooking gas had 16.49 crore beneficiaries in January, of which, about a third did not have Aadhaar seeding. A total of ₹ 2,288.37 crore was transferred under the scheme.

Officials point out that Aadhaar seeding even for bank accounts under the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana is low. By March 9, just 9.32 crore of the 21.22 crore accounts were Aadhaar seeded.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had in the Budget 2016-17 announced a pilot project for DBT of fertiliser subsidy in a few districts across the country, as well as the enactment of a law to ensure that all government benefits are conferred upon persons who deserve them, by giving a statutory backing to the Aadhaar platform.

Credits The Hindu Business Line

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