Saving 15% in each plan, DBT can lend economy a hand

| Updated on: Jan 08, 2018

Will help Centre’s finances, formal review once rolled out over 500 schemes

Faced with a grim fiscal situation, the Centre’s direct benefit programme could prove to be a silver lining with projected savings of about at least 15-25 per cent in each scheme.

“Though an official calculation of savings from DBT is still a work in progress but back of the envelope calculations indicate that it would be as high as anywhere between 15 per cent and 25 per cent,” said a senior government official.

A full review of the savings would be done over the next six months when the cash transfer programme is fully implemented for 500 Central schemes.

“The savings are estimated not only due to better targeting but also because of better authentication of beneficiaries that has led to a reduction in de-duplication,” said the official.

At present, savings reported through DBT in 2016-17 is ₹57,029 crore, which has been contested by civil society activists, but officials believe that this would be much higher.

Considered as one of the largest direct benefit transfer programmes in the world, officials point out that DBT now covers not cash transactions but also those in kind such as the food subsidy made through the public distribution scheme, payments to enablers or service providers such as ASHA and Anganwadi workers as well as government services such as PAN and passport.

According to official data, 462 Central schemes are under DBT, of which 373 are in cash and 89 are in kind.

“It has led to a re-engineering of government processes. All schemes together, beneficiaries would amount to 150 crore and transactions would cross over ₹3 lakh crore,” said a second official.

An earlier review of savings in food subsidy with DBT in the two Union Territories of Puducherry and Chandigarh has resulted in about ₹13 crore of savings.

Published on October 06, 2017
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