“We plan to complete the mission in all 600 districts in the country by the end of 2013. All government money such as subsidies, scholarships and other compensations for citizens will be deposited in their bank accounts directly using the Aadhaar system,” said Chidambaram, at the inaugural session of BANCON, an annual meet of nationalised banks.
Chidambaram noted that the government was spending thousands of crores every year on pensions and subsidies. “This will enable us to pay the money to the targeted beneficiaries,” he said, adding that it would be a golden chapter in Indian history.
Prime minister Manmohan Singh has called a meeting of the cash transaction committee on Monday to review the scheme, which will be followed by another meeting of collectors of the 51 districts chosen in the first phase, added Chidambaram.
Comparing the role of banks in an economy to heartbeats in the human body, the finance minister asked banks to explore new customers, offers and new ways to make the banking system customer-centric.
With the world economy in crisis and growth rates falling, Chidambaram said India cannot afford to have a decline in growth rates. “Our growth rate should not be less than 8.5%, but it is expected to remain at 5.5% in the near future,” he said.