He added: “The rollout of the core banking is badly behind schedule. The tender for placing orders for handheld devices (for biometric authentication) has been cancelled and (orders are) yet to be placed.”
The DBT, the government’s anti-poverty programme launched in January this year with the aim of transferring subsidies directly to BPL people, has so far delivered Rs. 135.18 crore to 39.76 lakh beneficiaries across 121 districts. But with time running out before the general elections, the Centre also feels that an overhaul of the process of giving out funds “must be an absolute priority if the DBT is to expand any further”.
Government managers are also worried that very few programmes are covered under the umbrella project. Janani Suraksha Yojna and four post-matric scholarships alone account for 33 lakh or 83% of beneficiaries.
Chatterji termed database digitisation as a “challenge” and added that beneficiaries’ lists were often “never ever collected or compiled at the central level”, minutes of the meeting available with HT show.
In the meeting, it was also noted: “It is time to crack the whip and move faster, for which it is necessary to take hard decisions.”