PMO pushes ahead with direct cash transfer scheme

Mammohan2NEW DELHI: Pushing ahead with the direct cash transfer scheme, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) has directed various ministries and departments to immediately get down to the task of operational sing the ambitious program to be rolled out from January 1, next year.

“I would request you to get down to the immediate task of operationalising Direct Cash Transfers in the identified schemes in your Department,” said Pulok Chatterjee, Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister in a letter to nine secretaries of the central government.

This follows the first meeting of the National Committee on Direct Cash Transfers (DCT) chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on November 26.

The letter said that emphasis should be on having a seamless and trouble free roll-out of the program, 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 digitized form seeded with Aadhaar numbers for your schemes,” it said.

Digitization of beneficiaries’ database, it said, is critical for rolling out the scheme and maximum effort on this needs to be put in at the state and district levels.

Chatterjee told the secretaries that they will be provided with necessary assistance by Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) and the Department of Information Technology.

The implementation Committees in each ministry have been directed to meet on a weekly basis to complete the task of digitization.

The PMO said concerns relating to the availability of banking infrastructure and the financial and accounting procedures required would be addressed by the Financial Inclusion and Technology Committees.

In a separate letter to the UIDAI (Unique Identification Authority of India) Chairman Nandan Nilekani, the PMO has asked the Technology Committee to consider providing dedicated individuals to each of the nine implementing ministries to assist them in their work on digitizing databases.

The Technology Committee is addressing the issues of rapid penetration of Aadhaar numbers to beneficiaries, ensuring that the Aadhaar Payment Bridge is made operational and there is complete convergence of banking system with Aadhaar.

The PMO has also asked the Department of Financial Services to hold a meeting “immediately” to oversee opening of bank accounts by the beneficiaries, seeding of bank accounts with Aadhaar numbers and ensuring that the operations of business correspondent, who will help in cash transfer, are made suitably flexible so they are easily accessible to beneficiaries wherever necessary.

The Department has been also asked to design an incentive package for the business correspondents who will dispense cash directly to beneficiaries.

The Department will also need to resolve issues of utilizing the existing Post Offices network to undertake Direct Cash Transfers. -PTI

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