States can now follow the Centre’s model for direct benefit transfer (DBT) using the Aadhaar number. The  Cabinet on Wednesday cleared  amendments to the Aadhaar and Other Laws (Amendment) Bill that  enable States to use the unique identity number  for their respective welfare schemes.

Bill to be moved

Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javdekar, after a Cabinet meeting, told newspersons that Aadhaar is already being used by the Centre to implement its various welfare schemes. “Many  States have requested a legislative arrangement for the use of Aadhaar in their schemes, which has been accepted by the Centre,” he said,  adding that a Bill in this regard will  be moved  in  Parliament.

At present, the Centre uses Aadhaar-based DBT for 439 schemes  implemented by 55  ministries and departments. The  schemes can be categorised as Central Sector Schemes and Centrally Sponsored Schemes. While the former are  fully funded by the Centre and implemented by the Central government machinery, the  latter have contributions from the Centre and States in various proportions, and are implemented  by the State governments.

States and  Union Territories have their  exclusive schemes, too. For example, Tamil Nadu has 103 schemes while Andhra Pradesh has 125 and Karnataka, 168. Since States have to contribute their share for Centrally Sponsored Schemes apart from their own schemes, the use of DBT aims to cut  wastage and ensure  the effective use of resources.

DBT is heavily dependent on JAM — the trio of Jan Dhan Yojana (over 36.25 crore accounts), Aadhaar (nearly 128 crore holders) and mobile connections (about 116 crore users). The scheme,  initiated by the UPA government on a pilot basis on January 1, 2013, took off in November-December 2014, when all the districts in the country and key schemes were brought under its ambit.

The Centre claims  it has saved over ₹1.41-lakh crore through the use of DBT since its inception, out of which nearly ₹50,000 crore was saved in FY19 alone.

This seems to have prompted States to ask to use Aadhaar for their  welfare schemes as well.