The UPA government has kept nutritional and direct health schemes outside the purview the direct cash transfer programme after resistance from within. But, their delivery would be linked to unique identification or Aadhaar number to improve efficiency.
Direct cash transfer for 34 schemes in 43 select districts was announced recently and the government has taken up its implementation on war-footing under supervision of principal secretary to PM Pulak Chatterjee.
A senior government official told HT that a decision at the highest level was taken not to include public distribution system (PDS), mid-day meal, integrated child development scheme and direct health schemes such as Asha in direct cash transfer mechanism.
“People would continue to get their ration from a fair price shop but through an Aadhaar enabled mechanism,” the official said.
The government is looking at electronic subsidy voucher for each beneficiary on the Aadhaar platform. The voucher for a particular beneficiary would get automatically redeemed once the person does biometric authentication of having received his or her monthly quota of ration.
In case of mid-day meal and ICDS, the Aadhaar platform would be used to check whether the food being provided is actually being consumed or not. “We can seek online authentication of the beneficiaries,” an official said.
The officials said the decision to keep these schemes out was taken after senior Cabinet ministers raised concern whether the subsidy transferred into bank
accounts would be used for the purpose it was provided.
There have been studies in Latin America suggesting that direct cash transfer had resulted in increased consumption of liquor and other intoxicants. “Direct cash transfer will be implemented in 34 listed schemes first,” an official said.