Within days of Election Commission issuing direction in the direct cash transfer scheme, the government on Thursday said it will be implemented in 43 districts, as against 51 announced earlier.
"As Aadhaar numbers are in the process of being issued, Aadhar enabled direct cash transfer is being implemented in a phase wise manner beginning with 43 districts from January 1, 2013," finance minister P Chidambaram said in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha.
The government's earlier announcement of implementing cash transfer in 29 welfare schemes in 51 districts from January 1 was objected to by BJP, in view of the state-elections in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh.
Following a complaint by the BJP, the Election Commission has asked the government to postpone implementation of the scheme in these two states.
Chidambaram, in his reply, said a decision on whether Aadhaar should be mandatory for getting benefits through direct cash transfer, would be taken by individual ministries/departments with respect to their own schemes.
The electronic cash transfers will be based on Aadhar (Unique Identification Number) platform. The entire country is targeted to be covered by the end of next year.
"Since Aadhaar is based on unique identity of a person that includes finger print..., the proposed transfer will help in de-duplication and accurate targeting of the beneficiary," Chidambaram said.
The schemes which would come under the purview of the cash transfer scheme from January 1 would include those of ministry of social justice and empowerment, human resources development (HRD), minority, welfare, women and child development, health and family and labour and employment.
Aadhaar, a 12-digit number, serves as a proof of identity and address anywhere in the country. The UIDAI has already issued 21 crore Aadhaar cards.