A committee of ministers headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is set to make Aadhaar integration must for executing every government scheme to ensure accountability and check corruption.
The central government disburses around Rs. three lakh crore every year under 147 central schemes to the state governments. But, it does not have a system to check whether the money has been effectively used or not.
The unique identification or Aadhaar platform would provide government an opportunity to ensure electronic accountability systems. As of now, the central government is totally dependant on the state governments to find out how the central funds are used and does not have an effective mechanism to cross verify the claims.
“It can change with Aadhaar,” Nandan Nilekani chairman of Unique Identification Authority of India told HT recently. The reason is Aadhaar platform provides authentication to a particular service and when the central government leverages the service accountability would be automatic. “Pilots have shown that Aadhaar system works efficiently,” he added.
The Planning Commission, which coordinates the Prime Minister headed national committee on direct cash transfers, has received proposals from around 20 ministries to use Aadhaar platform to execute the schemes.
“All 15 flagship programmes and major government schemes would start using Aadhaar system in 51 districts from January next year,” a senior planning commission official said. This would be in addition to disbursing subsidies in these districts from next year.
An announcement in this regard is expected next week after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh takes first meeting of the national committee. Officials said additional allocations would be made in the supplementary grants to be approved in the winter session of parliament for digitizing the database and seeding it with Aadhaar numbers.
Based on the proposal submitted by the ministries, the technical committee would be fixing timelines for each ministry to deliver on Aadhaar platform to ensure that entire government spending is disbursed through Aadhaar platform by 2017. “The UPA-2 has given top priority to the unique identification scheme as a way to improve governance,” a senior government official said.
However, cash transfer of subsidies, fuel and ration, and financial incentives like pensions and scholarships, will happen by April 2014. The government has also announced a roadmap to transfer LPG subsidy directly into the bank accounts of beneficiaries and pilots for ration subsidies are underway.
The ultimate aim of the government is to make all disburse funds to state governments and residents through one payment bridge- Aadhaar- and it is likely to be stamped at PM’s meeting on November 26.