PMO reviews preparations to implement direct cash transfers
The Prime Minister's Office (PMO) Friday asked all ministries to make preparations "on a war footing" for the launch of the government's ambitious and game changing Direct Cash Transfer (DCT) scheme Jan 1, 2013.
With just a fortnight left, the directive came after a meeting chaired by Pulok Chatterji, principal secretary in the PMO, that reviewed the preparedness so far and discussed in detail how direct transfers of benefits in the 34 identified schemes in the 43 districts initially selected will be implemented by the fixed timeline.
The meeting was a follow-up to the meeting of the National Committee on Direct Cash Transfers chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Nov 26.
It asked the ministries to follow a "camp" approach to fast-track enrolment of beneficiaries under the Aadhaar scheme.
The ministries concerned were also asked to ensure that the beneficiaries have bank accounts in which Aadhaar numbers will be mentioned.
"This has to be addressed on a war footing. The best approach may be a camp approach," the PMO said in a statement.
The Planning Commission will organise a video conference with district collectors, chief secretaries and finance secretaries of participating states to assess their preparedness for the roll-out.
The PMO said that all implementing ministries will immediately launch publicity, information and instruction campaigns in the 43 districts and in eight districts of Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat after the results of assembly elections are announed December 20.
It futher said standardised formats for the basic data to be collected for entry of Aadhaar numbers and Bank account details will be finalised by Department of Financial Services (DoFS).
This will be done in consultation with UIDAI, banks and implementing ministries and sent to Planning Commission for circulation to all concerned.
The format will contain the minimum essential data that will be needed for effecting Aadhaar-enabled direct cash transfers, it added.
"Department of Expenditure will work out, in consultation with DoFS, UIDAI, Planning Commission and other implementing Ministries, the process for fund flows and any changes that need to be made to current instructions on Utilisation Certificates, etc. So that all these meet government accounting and reporting requirements," PMO said.
The PMO said that for centrally sponsored schemes, ministries will continue to transfer funds through states as at present.
"For Central Sector schemes, the direct cash transfers will be directly to beneficiary from GoI Ministries," it said.
For schemes where the beneficiary is a minor, there would be a joint bank account, preferably with the mother. Under it, the Aadhaar of the child would be used for beneficiary identification purposes and mother's Aadhaar would be needed for operating the bank account.
The scheme aims at disbursing money for welfare schemes like those for pension, scholarships and healthcare to be directly deposited into bank accounts of beneficiaries in a bid to curb delays and leakages and is slated to become a pan-India operation by the end of 2013.
For the moment, food and fertiliser subsidies have been kept out of its purview.