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HindustanTimes Thu,30 Oct 2014

Hiccups ahead for direct cash transfer plan

Aloke Tikku, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, December 13, 2012
First Published: 23:58 IST(13/12/2012) | Last Updated: 01:16 IST(14/12/2012)

The Aadhaar-linked direct cash transfer scheme, which will be launched on January 1, runs the risk of tripping in more than one-third of the 43 districts where less than 50% of the population has an Aadhaar number.

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This includes Maharashtra's Nandurbar district, where Prime Minister Manmohan Singh handed over the first unique identity number to Ranjana Sonawne of Tembli village in September 2010.

Overall, about 55 million of 84 million people above the age of six across 43 districts have the unique identity number. However, most of these people live in 20 districts, where the coverage averages 80-90%.

It was a similar set of statistics that recently prompted oil secretary GC Chaturvedi to concede that direct cash transfer could falter due to low coverage in many districts.

Barely 28% of Nandurbar's 16 lakh people have an Aadhaar number. At least 80% should have had one for the ambitious scheme to be successful. "We are trying to get UIDAI agencies to open more enrolment centres," Om Prakash Bakoria, district collector of Nadurbar, said.

There were only a handful of centres till a few weeks back. "Now there are as many as 67," said Bakoria.

With five of the six identified districts way behind the 80% cut-off, an edgy Maharashtra government has knocked on the doors of the home ministry for help to bump up enrolment.

Maharashtra was a UID state under the truce deal between then home minister P Chidambaram and UIDAI chief Nandan Nilekani, a decision that barred NPR from collecting biometrics in the state.

To begin with, Maharashtra requested NPR managers to bail them out and open enrolment centres in the six districts that are lagging behind.

In Jharkhand too, where the UIDAI had launched a few pilots to assess the efficacy of Aadhaar-enabled services, four districts - including Ranchi - have coverage of 34-44%.

The worst performer is Rajasthan, where Alwar, Udaipur and Ajmer have an Aadhaar coverage of 15-18%.


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