Nitish agrees on UID coverage for social sector
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Tuesday agreed to a suggestion of Nandan Nikelani, chairman of Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), to bring all social sector schemes in the state under a biometric regime. Chetan Chauhan reports.delhi Updated: Feb 16, 2011 01:49 IST
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Tuesday agreed to a suggestion of Nandan Nikelani, chairman of Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), to bring all social sector schemes in the state under a biometric regime.
The state has already introduced e-shakti, a biometric enrollment for the world’s biggest job gurantee scheme, Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS).To start with, Nikelani offered to bring all pension schemes and the Public Distribution System under the biometric enabled Unique Identification (UID) number to plug possible leakages, which Kumar willingly accepted. And, for each person getting a UID number the state government will get Rs 50.
At that time, Planning Commission Deputy Chairperson Montek Singh Ahluwalia said it will welcome the state’s initiative to play a model role in the introduction of UID scheme in the implementation of social sector programmes.
The UIDAI chairperson also elaborated the benefits of unique numbers in better management of the social sector schemes at a meeting, where the Central government committed to give Rs 24,000 crore to Bihar for the financial year 2011-12. It is a six fold increase as compared to when Kumar took over as chief minister six years ago and said the increase will help in “development of Bihar”.
Expressing satisfaction over the funds allocated, Kumar suggested that the Centre should scrap all Central government schemes, except the flagship programmes. “The state governments should have the flexibility to spend the money in other schemes as per their requirement,” Kumar told reporters after the meeting.
One such example he presented of flawed Central government schemes was the Rajiv Gandhi Vidyut Yojana, where money is given to install 10 KVA transformers, also known as ‘tullu’ transformers. The problem was that once the transformer got burnt off, locals resisted its replacement with a transformer of same dimensions. “It is wastage of government funds,” he said, while asking for transformers of 60 or 100 KVA.
Ahluwalia stressed on restructuring of the state electricity boards, which have been incurring a loss of Rs 60,000 crore every year. “I have told the Chief Minister to focus on financial restructuring of the power sector,” Ahluwalia said.
The Bihar government has also been assured that it will get higher allocation next year to fund the escalation in prices for implementation of the Central government schemes, which have been delayed for various reasons.