With a year left for elections, the UPA government is putting its best foot forward to ensure that its ambitious project — direct benefit transfer (DBT) — makes the maximum impact. To expedite awarding of unique identification or Aadhaar numbers, the PMO last week approved Rs 3,450 crore for a target enrolment of 40 crore people in a year.
Even with the inflow of funds, it will be a daunting task since the unique identification authority of India (UIDAI) had been able to enroll only 20 crore people in its first two years.
The UIDAI project is the UPA’s bid to provide a unique identity number to each resident of India so it can directly transfer benefits and check leakages in government schemes. It would also result in better monitoring of central government schemes worth Rs 3,00,000 crore.
“We expect to see first real impact of Aadhaar based DBT by July-August this year when one-third of India’s districts (120) would be brought under electronic money transfer scheme,” a senior government official said.
Finance minister P Chidamabaram ruled out early elections saying that the UPA government wanted elections only after its ambitious DBT roll-out is completed by next March.
Government sources said that of the total amount sought, around Rs 2,700 crore would be allotted for quick enrollment and ensuring that Aadhaar letters reach people on time.