New Delhi: In 1985, then prime minister Rajiv Gandhi remarked that only 15 paise of every rupee meant for the welfare of the downtrodden reaches them. Nearly 32 years later, the comment has found mention in the Supreme Court verdict on the Aadhaar scheme, PTI reported.
"A former prime minister of this country has gone on record to say that out of one rupee spent by the government for welfare of the downtrodden, only 15 paise thereof actually reaches those persons for whom it is meant.
"It cannot be doubted that with UID/Aadhaar much of the malaise in this field can be taken care of," a bench of justices AK Sikri and Ashok Bhushan said.
Rajiv Gandhi had made the remark during a visit to drought-affected Kalahandi district in Orissa.
In its 157-page judgment, the apex court said Aadhaar can take care of “malaise” of duplicate beneficiaries reaping the fruits of welfare schemes meant for the genuine deprived class.
The bench said a major hurdle in transfer of the benefits to the genuine needy is the lack of means to correctly identify such persons.
"Resultantly, lots of ghosts and duplicate beneficiaries are able to take undue and impermissible benefits," it said.
The judges said it is the duty of a welfare State to come out with schemes to take care of needs of the deprived class and ensure adequate opportunities are provided to them. It noted that due to various reasons including corruption, the benefit of welfare schemes does not reach those who are supposed to receive them.
"India has achieved significant economic growth since Independence. In particular, rapid economic growth has been achieved in the last 25 years, after the country adopted the policy of liberalisation and entered the era of, what is known as, globalisation. Economic growth in the last decade has been phenomenal and for many years, the Indian economy grew at highest rate in the world," the bench said.
"At the same time, it is also a fact that in spite of significant political and economic success which has proved to be sound and sustainable, the benefits thereof have not percolated down to the poor and the poorest. In fact, such benefits are reaped primarily by the rich and upper middle classes, resulting into widening the gap between the rich and the poor," the apex court said.
(With PTI inputs)