More effective social safety nets like Aadhaar-card based direct cash transfers scheme are being set up to reduce poverty in India, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said Saturday.
Speaking at the annual general meeting (AGM) of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Ficci), the Prime Minister said the government is rolling out Aadhaar-based services rapidly so that funds for scholarships, pensions, health, wages and many other benefits are transferred directly to the individuals who require them.
"We should see the major drive we have launched recently towards direct cash transfers. The drive is to transfer government benefits directly to the bank accounts of individual beneficiaries," he said.
"The unique identification program of having Aadhaar numbers for all residents is going to be the basis of this huge transformation," said the prime minister, adding the step will help in reducing financial leakages by eliminating middlemen.
"This will reduce leakages, cut down corruption, eliminate middlemen, target beneficiaries better and speed up transfer of benefits to eligible individuals. It will, at one go, bring in crores of people into our banking system and mainstream them into our economy," he said.
On Friday, the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) asked all ministries to make preparations "on a war footing" for the launch of the government's ambitious and game-changing Direct Cash Transfer (DCT) scheme Jan 1, 2013.
With just a fortnight left, the directive came after a meeting, chaired by Pulok Chatterji, principal secretary in the PMO, to review the preparedness so far and discuss in detail how direct transfers of benefits in the 34 identified schemes in the 43 districts initially selected will be implemented by the fixed timeline.
The meeting was a follow-up to the meeting of the National Committee on Direct Cash Transfers chaired by the prime minister November 26.