A project of the magnitude of the Aadhaar-enabled direct cash transfer hasn’t been attempted anywhere else in the world. Similar plans in Brazil and Mexico were smaller in scale and therefore better targeted.
Direct cash transfer is the biggest carrot that the UPA government is dangling at prospective voters. It has promised a swift flow of funds directly into the accounts of millions of beneficiaries of government schemes by the end of 2013, with the first tranche coming sometime in February.
The move could either lead to electoral gains in the 2014 general elections or prove to be a wash-out.
With Pulok Chatterjee, principal secretary to the Prime Minister, keeping a close watch on the dole-out, chances are, it might roll out fine. Still, some within the government are sceptical. “Rolling out such a colossal idea in a year is close to impossible,” said a senior government official.
There are also concerns about whether it will succeed in rooting out corruption. Direct transfers under the MGNREGS plan have led to harassment of poor daily wage earners, say critics.