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Chidambaram admits glitches in cash transfer scheme rollout

Dec 31, 2012 06:16 PM IST India India

New Delhi: Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram, who had earlier described it as "pure magic" and "error free", has admitted that the rollout of the controversial Direct Cash Transfer (DCT) scheme may have some glitches. The poverty reduction scheme, through which the government aims to provide benefits to the poor directly through cash rather than in the form of subsidies, will be rolled out on January 1.

Chidambaram appealed to the media to not rush to judgement on operationalisation of the scheme, adding that the officials implementing it will work towards removing these glitches. Describing the policy as a "game changer", the minister said, "give me some time to implement it (DCT scheme)." As a first step, below poverty line (BPL) families will get direct cash transfers in 43 districts that have high Aadhaar penetration among the beneficiaries.

The finance minister said the scheme will be implemented in more districts within 3 months and that people without the Aadhar registration cards will also be able to reap its benefits. "Over the next few days or weeks we will aim at 100 per cent penetration of Aadhaar beneficiaries... Whether there is Aadhaar card is not money will be credited, money will be withdrawn," Chidambaram said. The banks have also floated tender for 20 lakh inter-operable micro ATMs.

For those who do not have Aadhaar-linked bank account, the minister said the money would be transferred into their accounts so that they can withdraw it through the business correspondents. He said the list of the beneficiaries is available with the respective departments in the ministries concerned.

Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tiwari said the first phase would benefit about two lakh people. The direct cash transfer scheme, said a press statement, will not be a substitute for delivery of public services which would continue to take place as per the normal delivery channels.

The seven schemes which are ready for payout from January 1 include pre and post matric scholarships for SC, STs and OBCs, Indira Gandhi Matrutva Sahayata Yojana, Dhanalakshmi scheme and stipend scheme for SC, ST job seekers.

(With Additional Inputs From PTI)