The UPA government's 'game-changer' direct benefit transfer (DBT) scheme would be expanded to 78 districts and will bring cooking gas subsidy under its ambit but it would test the government's implementation capability.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh who chaired a DBT review meeting on Friday admitted that the programme had run into difficulties not envisaged at the beginning.
It included poor enrollment for Aadhaar numbers, digitization of beneficiary data and seeding of Aadhaar number on the digitized data.
The journey so far "had not been easy" and has exposed government's "poor tracking and monitoring" of the funds meant for welfare, the PM said at the meeting of 13 central ministers.
In the same vein he added that the DBT can provide a "robust" monitoring system for the "outcome" of the money government spends.
The PM said the DBT was not conceptually difficult but it requires process re-engineering and the need to change the way government transacts business.
"We cannot afford to fail. We need to show that we can deliver results and benefits," he said and added that the progress has been "heartening" but still there was a "long way to go".
The government had rolled-out DBT in 20 districts on this January 1 and expanded it 43 by first week of March. Another 78 districts would be added from July 1 by when 70-80% of population in these districts would be enrolled for Aadhaar number.
It was also decided transfer of LPG subsidy will be initiated in one district soon and expanded to another 20 by mid-May.
Other big decisions
# DBT will cover post offices from October 1, 2013
# LPG subsidy will be delivered through DBT in one district and expanded to 20 by May 15.
# Nation-wide digitization of beneficiary data.
# Full-fledged DBT mission directorate