Saturday, October 20, 2012

Aadhaar to help millions get benefits of government schemes

Millions across the country may soon get benefits of various government schemes, like cooking gas subsidies and old age pension, targeted at them with the launch of the much-awaited Aadhaar-enabled direct cash transfer system in Rajasthan.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi launched the much touted payment mechanism which is aimed at checking corruption and pilferage in the social sector schemes that seek to promote financial inclusion.

The launch of the scheme coincides with the second anniversary of Aadhaar project, which is being implemented by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI).

In the last two years, the UIDAI has generated over 20 crore Aadhaar numbers. The Aadhaar number 21 crore was handed over to a villager in Dudu by Sonia Gandhi at a function in Rajasthan which was also attended by Finance Minister P Chidambaram, Chief Minister of Rajasthan Ashok Gehlot, Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Union Ministers Sachin Pilot, Ashwani Kumar and Namo Narain Meena among others.

"This is very significant thing and it will help reducing wastage, fraud and corruption," said UIDAI Chairman Nandan Nilekani.

Use of Aadhaar-based delivery mechanism will improve compliance management, reduce leakages and increase efficiency and accountability of the government's social sector schemes.

The government is rolling out Aadhaar enabled service delivery initiative in 51 districts across the country. It will be used for making pension payments, MNREGA payments, PDS distribution, scholarship payments, an official statement said.

UIDAI Director General R S Sharma said, 80 per cent of the work in the 20 districts out of total 51 districts, will be completed by December 2012. Around 80 per cent work in the remaining 31 districts will be completed by the March 31, 2013.

UIDAI has been mandated to cover a total population of 60 crore by March 2014 across 18 states including Delhi, Haryana, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Himachal Pradesh and Rajasthan.