The government has estimated a saving of over ₹44,000 crore in fiscal 2020-21 with the help of the Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) mechanism.

With this, total savings till March 31, 2021 have crossed ₹2.22 lakh crore. The saved amount is close to the total expenditure on health and wellbeing for the current fiscal or more than three times the allocation for Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS).

As on date, 310 schemes of 54 Central Government Ministries and Departments are under DBT wherein cash assistance is directly transferred to the beneficiary account or the assistance in kind is ensured for the beneficiaries using JAM (Jan Dhan, Aadhaar and Mobile) trinity.

Deletion of duplicate, fake/non-existent ration cards

According to DBT website, the Public Distribution Scheme (PDS) saw maximum gain with deletion of 3.99 crore duplicate and fake/non-existent ration cards (since 2013 till 2020) and that resulted in estimated savings of over ₹1 lakh crore.

MGNREGS is another source of big saving. According to the government, based on field studies, the Rural Development Ministry has estimated 10 per cent savings on wages on account of deletion of duplicate, fake/non-existent and ineligible beneficiaries.

LPG subsidy is another big saver. According to the government, 4.11 crore duplicate, fake/non-existent and inactive LPG connections have been eliminated. In addition, there are 1.79 crore non-subsidised LPG consumers, including 1.08 crore ‘Give It Up’ consumers, which resulted in total savings of over ₹72,000 crore.

Data show that during the current fiscal (till date), a total of 57.8 crore beneficiaries got DBT in cash, while 83.3 crore got it in kind. The number of beneficiaries receiving DBT in kind is at an all time high, out of which over 70 crore are under PDS. During FY21, with the help of DBT, the government estimates savings of over ₹34,700 crore in PDS implementation. This is important as the government had spent a considerable amount on free food grains under PDS last fiscal.

Distribution of free food grains

It may be noted that the government has targeted distributing free food grains to over 80 crore families. This is over 5 kg of rice or wheat over and above the PDS entitlement.

With the aim of reforming the government delivery system by re-engineering the existing process in welfare schemes for simpler and faster flow of information/funds and to ensure accurate targeting of the beneficiaries, de-duplication and reduction of fraud, DBT was started on January 1, 2013. First phase of DBT was initiated in 43 districts and later 78 more districts were added in 27 schemes pertaining to scholarships, women, child and labour welfare. DBT was further expanded across the country on December 12, 2014

JAM is a DBT enabler and as on date around 44 crore Jan Dhan accounts, more than 131 crore Aadhaar and 110 crore mobile connections provide an opportunity to implement DBT in all welfare schemes across the country including States and UTs. “DBT will bring efficiency, effectiveness, transparency and accountability in the government system and infuse confidence of citizen in the governance. Use of modern technology and IT tools will realise the dream of ‘Maximum Governance, Minimum Government,’ the introduction to DBT said.