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PMO prods ministries to fast-track cash scheme

Saturday, 1 December 2012 - 6:00am IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: dna
With eyes set firm on 2014 elections, the Congress-led UPA government on Friday virtually cracked the whip on nine key ministries, seeking immediate operationalisation of direct cash transfers (DCT) for delivery of services to the beneficiaries of social entitlements.

With eyes set firm on 2014 elections, the Congress-led UPA government on Friday virtually cracked the whip on nine key ministries, seeking immediate operationalisation of direct cash transfers (DCT) for delivery of services to the beneficiaries of social entitlements.

In a letter to nine secretaries, prime minister’s principal secretary Pulok Chatterjee virtually ordered operationalising direct cash transfers in the identified schemes immediately in their respective departments and ensure that they have a complete list of beneficiaries in digitized form seeded with Aadhaar numbers.

The express move follows the first meeting of the national committee on DCT chaired by the prime minister on November 26 whose decision to implement DCT scheme has been challenged by both the BJP and the Left parties on several counts.

The BJP has lodged a protest with the EC over announcement of the scheme ahead of Gujarat elections and demanded its withdrawal. 

Debunking the move as complete politicisation of a good scheme, senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha said, “The Congress’ intentions are not at all honourable otherwise why Chidamabaram and Jairam Ramesh announced the scheme from 24 Akbar Road. The right place to announce such an important scheme is parliament not party’s headquarters,” Sinha told DNA.

Starting with implementation of scholarships and pensions in 51 districts from January 1, 2013, the Congress-led UPA government seems to be on a crash course to somehow implement its other flagship schemes like NREGA through DCT in rest of the country just ahead of 2014 elections as it has tasked the ministries to rollout the scheme completely in 18 states from April 1, 2013 and in rest of the states from April 1, 2014 or earlier.

The letter of PM’s principal secretary sets out the targets with precision and clarity. “The emphasis should be on having a seamless and trouble free rollout of the programme, first in 51 districts and subsequently as per the agreed roll out plan.... The main issue which you need to focus on is ensuring that you have a complete list of beneficiaries in digitised form seeded with Aadhaar numbers for your schemes,” it says.

It goes on to add that beneficiaries’ database is critical for rolling out direct cash transfers and maximum effort on this needs to be put in at the state and district levels.

Another letter to the department of financial services, the PMO has asked for convening a meeting immediately to oversee opening of bank accounts by the beneficiaries with ease, seeding of bank accounts with Aadhaar numbers and ensure flexible operations to business correspondents so they are easily accessible to beneficiaries.

The department has also been told to design an incentive package for the business correspondents who will dispense cash directly to beneficiaries. The department will also resolve issues of utilizing the existing Post Offices network to undertake DCT.

In a letter to nine secretaries, prime minister’s principal secretary Pulok Chatterjee virtually ordered operationalising direct cash transfers in the identified schemes immediately in their respective departments and ensure that they have a complete list of beneficiaries in digitized form seeded with Aadhaar numbers.

The express move follows the first meeting of the national committee on DCT chaired by the prime minister on November 26 whose decision to implement DCT scheme has been challenged by both the BJP and the Left parties on several counts.

The BJP has lodged a protest with the EC over announcement of the scheme ahead of Gujarat elections and demanded its withdrawal. 

Debunking the move as complete politicisation of a good scheme, senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha said, “The Congress’ intentions are not at all honourable otherwise why Chidamabaram and Jairam Ramesh announced the scheme from 24 Akbar Road. The right place to announce such an important scheme is parliament not party’s headquarters,” Sinha told DNA.

Starting with implementation of scholarships and pensions in 51 districts from January 1, 2013, the Congress-led UPA government seems to be on a crash course to somehow implement its other flagship schemes like NREGA through DCT in rest of the country just ahead of 2014 elections as it has tasked the ministries to rollout the scheme completely in 18 states from April 1, 2013 and in rest of the states from April 1, 2014 or earlier.
The letter of PM’s principal secretary sets out the targets with precision and clarity. “The emphasis should be on having a seamless and trouble free rollout of the programme, first in 51 districts and subsequently as per the agreed roll out plan.... The main issue which you need to focus on is ensuring that you have a complete list of beneficiaries in digitised form seeded with Aadhaar numbers for your schemes,” it says.

It goes on to add that beneficiaries’ database is critical for rolling out direct cash transfers and maximum effort on this needs to be put in at the state and district levels.

Another letter to the department of financial services, the PMO has asked for convening a meeting immediately to oversee opening of bank accounts by the beneficiaries with ease, seeding of bank accounts with Aadhaar numbers and ensure flexible operations to business correspondents so they are easily accessible to beneficiaries.

The department has also been told to design an incentive package for the business correspondents who will dispense cash directly to beneficiaries. The department will also resolve issues of utilizing the existing Post Offices network to undertake DCT.




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