Plan panel suggests smart cards for poor | business | Hindustan Times
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Plan panel suggests smart cards for poor

business Updated: Nov 06, 2007 21:59 IST

People will have to use smart cards to buy subsidised foodgrains, cooking gas, kerosene and fertilisers if a proposal by Planning Commission is accepted by the government.

A proposal to introduce smart cards to distribute subsidised food items during the Eleventh Plan period will form part of the exercise to deal with corruption, which has become "one of the biggest challenge before the governance structure", states the draft plan prepared by the Commission.

The proposed system will allow smart-card holders to buy goods from fair price shops and also other shops, which opt to supply subsidised goods to poor against the subsidy that can be reclaimed later.

The smart cards to be used for buying subsidised goods and services including education should be given to all residents with a Unique Identification Number, the draft paper states.

Although well off people will have to pay for the smart cards, it would be given free to poor sections, including the Below Poverty Line (BPL) families.

The smart cards, according to the proposal, will contain data on subsidies given and availed by beneficiaries. It would also help the government to monitor and evaluate subsidy schemes and find out whether the targeted people are receiving the benefits of the welfare schemes.

Making a strong case for introduction of the smart cards as soon as feasible, the Commission pointed out that it is "completely consistent with different models of delivery of subsidies and transfers."