Govt to roll out cash transfer scheme on January 1
The government will roll out its ambitious scheme of transferring cash to beneficiaries of select schemes in 20 districts on Tuesday, but food, fertilizer and fuel subsidies will not be covered in the initial phase.
Announcing the roll-out plan, Finance Minister P. Chidambaram said that more and more districts and schemes would be covered under the scheme during the course of 2013.
“We are proceeding with caution. 20 districts from January 1... All 26 schemes are ready for rollout. On January 1, the seven schemes in which pay out is due in the (20 selected) districts, the money will be transferred through the direct benefit transfer system using the UIDAI platform,” he said.
The Minister, however, clarified that subsidies relating to cooking gas (LPG), kerosene, diesel, food and fertilizers will not be included in the first phase of the roll-out. “Here, existing system will continue because they are complex issues,” he said.
The Minister said that scheme will be rolled out in 43 districts by March 1 — 20 districts from January 1, 11 districts from February 1 and 12 districts from March 1. By end of 2013, Chidambaram said, the direct cash benefit transfer will be rolled out in all the districts of the country. He said the subsidies would be transferred to the beneficiaries’ bank accounts if they do not have an Aadhaar number.
Meanwhile, opposition BJP on Monday accused the government of "fooling" the people by hurriedly implementing the cash transfer scheme without issuing Aadhar cards to all the intended beneficiaries and creating an environment of confusion.
"In 2012, the government's own game plan has been spoiled and yet it is calling this cash transfer scheme a game changer. The scheme is only being implemented in some districts. Moreover, the opinion within the government itself is divided on who falls under the BPL category," BJP spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain told reporters in New Delhi.
The main opposition maintained that the first priority for the government should be to grapple with price rise, falling GDP and rampant corruption. "The government says cash subsidy will be given to BPL families but most such families do not have a bank account. Bank managers have only now been asked to help them open their accounts. Aadhaar cards have not been made for a large number of people," the party spokesperson said.
- Asian Tribune -