Special camps soon in districts with low enrolment
In order to make direct cash transfers of subsidies successful, the Government plans to provide a single-point facility for beneficiaries in intended districts. Direct cash transfer for 34 centrally sponsored schemes is to begin in 43 districts from January 1.
“Some identified districts have low enrolment as well as bank accounts. So, it has been decided to organise special camps in those districts. These camps will have officials from UIDAI (Unique Identification Authority of India) and banks besides other Government departments. Beneficiaries will not only be able to enrol here, but also get a print out and then open a bank account,” a senior Government official told Business Line.
As on November 30, data for 42 identified districts showed that 19 districts have less than 60 per cent population covered under Aadhaar. But significantly, most of these districts are in the bigger States of Rajasthan, Haryana and Jharkhand.
Ajmer, Alwar and Udaipur in Rajasthan have just 15, 16 and 14 per cent respectively of population covered under Aadhaar.
However, Director-General of UIDAI R.S. Sharma feels that there is another way to look at these numbers.
“What is important to know is how many of the targeted beneficiaries in the identified districts have been covered under Aadhaar,” he said. Since State Governments have been proactive with already available list of intended beneficiaries, it has made the work easier, he added.
He also claimed that nearly 20-22 identified districts have more than 80 per cent coverage. So, success in these districts will set the direction for future. The Government has already announced Aadhaar-based direct cash transfer of subsidies in 18 States by April 1, 2013 and in 16 States by April 1, 2014 or even earlier. Some of the programmes, to be covered under the new system, include national rural employment guarantee programmes, scholarships, pension programmes and subsidised LPG and kerosene. There have been a series of meetings in the last couple of days to make the new mechanism successful.
On Tuesday, Secretary of the Planning Commission Sindhushree Khullar conducted a review meeting with 11 States and six Union Territories to discuss preparedness for a rapid roll-out of the Direct Cash Transfer Scheme.
Then Finance Minister P. Chidambaram met with district collectors of 43 identified districts on Thursday.