DBT helped save ₹37,000 cr under various schemes, says government

Shishir Sinha New Delhi | Updated on November 23, 2020

According to updated data, total cumulative saving since inception till March 31, 2020, is estimated at over ₹1.78-lakh crore.

Food subsidy accounts for maximum savings at over ₹19,000 crore

The government has estimated a gain of nearly ₹37,000 crore during the financial year 2019-20 through the Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) mechanism. This is more than one third of the enhanced amount under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) or twice the amount required for the Pradhan Mantri Sadak Yojana or 50 per cent of the amount provided under the Pradhan Mantri-Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN) scheme.

According to updated data, total cumulative saving since inception till March 31, 2020, is estimated at over ₹1.78-lakh crore.

Though DBT was started on January 1, 2013, the nationwide rollout took place on December 12, 2014. As of now, 337 schemes of 51 Central Ministries have been covered under the scheme. JAM (Jan Dhan, Aadhaar and Mobile phone) is the key to DBT. During the current fiscal (till date), 68.3 crore beneficiaries got cash and 69.7 crore beneficiaries got benefit in kind through the DBT mechanism.


During the financial year 2019-20, food subsidy (food grains through ration shops under the public distribution system) accounted for the maximum savings at over ₹19,000 crore. There have been deletion of 2.98 crore duplicate and fake/ non-existent ration cards (including some due to migration, death etc.), government data revealed.

The second major savings came from cooking gas (LPG), wherein the government managed to save over ₹11,700 crore. This was made possible by the elimination of 4.49 crore duplicate, fake/ non-existent and inactive LPG connections. In addition, there are 1.71 crore non-subsidised LPG consumers, including 1.05 crore ‘Give It Up’ consumers.

Key subsidies

Food, fuel an fertilisers (3Fs) are the three key subsidised items. According to the budget document for FY 2020-21, the total amount under subsidies and subsidy related scheme was over ₹2.62-lakh crore, out of which the 3Fs’ share was over ₹2.27-lakh crore.

With additional subsidy of ₹65,000 crore, this amount is now ₹2.92 lakh crore. Though food and fuel are covered by DBT, subsidy for fertiliser is given to companies to be passed on to farmers. Work is in progress to extend DBT to fertiliser.

Apart from subsidies, savings under MGNREGA is the third largest contributor to overall gains: ₹4,800 crore.

“Based on field studies, the Ministry has estimated 10 per cent savings on wages on account of deletion of duplicate, fake/ non-existent, ineligible beneficiaries,” the notes attached to the data said.

The DBT mechanism has got a boost with the expansion of JAM. The number of Jan Dhan Accounts has reached over 41 crore, while over 127 crore Aadhaar numbers have been generated. Over 100 crore mobile connection have been given.


Published on November 22, 2020

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