Subsidies: Govt to roll out direct cash transfers in 6 states by Jan 1
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With an aim to roll out direct cash transfers from 2013, the government has begun identifying about six states where it can introduce Aadhar-enabled transfer of key subsidies, including food.
"We want to implement the Aadhar-enabled direct cash transfers in five to six large states as it would give us an understanding of how the scheme would really work in a large area," a senior government official said.
Under the timeline finalised by an executive committee under the Prime Minister's Office, direct cash transfers will be rolled out in 51 districts from January 1, 2013. "We will choose 51 districts from amongst these states," an official said.
As per the roadmap, which was decided last Friday at a meeting of the committee led by principal secretary to the Prime Minister, Pulok Chatterji, along with cabinet secretary Ajit Seth, direct transfers will then be rolled out in 18 states by April 1, 2013, while it will be introduced in the remaining 16 states will from April 1, 2014 or earlier.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is scheduled to hold the first meeting of the recently set up National Committee on Direct Cash Transfers later this month.
The move, which will help the UPA win brownie points before the 2014 General Elections, will also help curtail the fiscal deficit by plugging leakages in the current system of indirect subsidies. The finance ministry is also understood to be banking heavily on the switch to the direct cash transfer of subsidies to help keep the deficit at 5.3 per cent of the GDP in 2012-13.
While the executive committee has asked line ministries to identify schemes that can be included under direct cash transfers, officials said that it is likely to include key subsidies such as cooking gas, kerosene, fertilisers and schemes such as MNREGA, pension and scholarships, and possibly even food.
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