Direct Benefits Transfer will now cover 1/5th of the country i.e. 78 more districts, 3 more Pension Schemes under DBT
The Prime Minister held a meeting of the National Committee on DBT to review the rollout of the Direct Benefits Transfer (DBT) system so far. The meeting was attended by all concerned Ministers including the Finance Minister, Deputy Chairman Planning Commission and Chairman, UIDAI. Secretaries of all Departments were also present.
Major decisions taken:
After reviewing the progress in rollout of DBT in Phase – I, many important decisions were taken to expand the coverage of areas under DBT in Phase II of the rollout. These are:
1. DBT will now be expanded to NPR states where biometrics are being collected under the National Population Register. These include Odisha, West Bengal, UP, Uttarakhand, Bihar and Chhattisgarh. The collection biometrics in selected districts here will be accelerated to have a coverage of 70-80% by June 2013 and DBT will be rolled out from 1.7.2013.
2. Additional districts: The next phase of the rollout will begin from 1 July 2013. A total of 78 districts have been identified for this phase based on the lists given by UIDAI and Registrar General of India. The list is annexed.
a. States Not covered in Phase I which are now covered:
i. UP – 6 districts
ii. Bihar – 3 districts
iii. West Bengal – 2 districts
iv. Odisha – 4 districts
v. Gujarat – 4 districts
vi. Himachal Pradesh – 6 districts
vii. Tamil Nadu – 3 districts
b. States covered in Phase I with more districts now – Kerala, Punjab, Delhi, MP, Rajasthan, AP, Maharashtra, Jharkhand.
3. Additional schemes: DBT now covers 26 schemes. The three Pension Schemes managed by MoRD (old age, disability and widows) will now be covered under DBT in all the covered districts. DBT for pension schemes would be introduced from 1.7.2013 along with the rollout of Phase-II.
4. Expanding to Post Offices: DBT will be expanded to include Post Offices and schemes run through Post Office accounts from 1 October 2013. By this time, the Post Offices will have the core banking system in 51 districts. They will accelerate CBS in other districts as well.
5. LPG Subsidy through DBT: MoPNG is working on rolling out DBT of LPG subsidy in a phased manner. There will be a phased rollout beginning with one district and expanding to 20 districts by 15 May 2013. Rollout will cover more districts as Aadhaar enrolment expands. The total number of LPG consumers in the country is 14crores and as the scheme rolls out, the subsidy amount will be transferred to consumers directly into their bank accounts. With the subsidy going directly, there will be only one price at which cylinders will be sold at a dealer’s shop. This will eliminate all ghost connections and diversion of cylinders.
6. Nationwide Database digitisation: Departments will start the process of digitisation in all districts, irrespective of the rollout of DBT as this is a critical activity which need not wait and can be done in parallel.
7. Mission Directorate: A full fledged DBT Mission Directorate consisting of a Mission Director assisted by other officers is being created to have an institutionalized administrative arrangement to enable smooth rollout, early identification of bottlenecks, resolution of bottlenecks and handholding of Ministries/ departments wherever necessary. To facilitate a nationwide rollout of DBT, the Prime Minister has approved the creation of a post of Mission Director for DBT.
Prime Minister’s Closing Remarks
In his closing remarks, the PM said that the meeting was productive and everyone’s views were heard. This program will transform the way in which government benefits are delivered to our people. He said that we have come some distance since DBT was rolled out in January. In these 3 months, we have learnt a lot about the challenges in implementing a program of this sort. It has not been as easy as departments envisaged. We have run into many operational issues which were resolved along the way. I am heartened by the progress and am hopeful about the future. But the journey has just begun and we have a long distance to go. This is not the time to rest.
He said that DBT is not conceptually difficult. It consists of just a few simple steps. In the field, it is all about digitising data, enrolling in Aadhaar, opening bank accounts and seeding these accounts. More importantly, he said that DBT requires process re-engineering at the government level. He emphasised the need to change the way we transact business, the way we release funds, the way we track funds and the information we have on beneficiaries. All these are important in themselves. He urged everyone to apply themselves to this exercise as that is one of the biggest benefits that will come out of DBT.
He mentioned that the exercise of DBT has revealed the poor nature of tracking and monitoring systems we have in departments. If we need to ensure that the money we spend delivers outcomes, it is necessary that we have a robust monitoring system in place. That is what DBT does, in addition to making the process simpler for beneficiaries and rooting out fraud, corruption and wastage.
He concluded by saying that as DBT expands, DBT will become more visible with a larger footprint, both in terms of area and in terms of number of people covered. This is a program on which the implementation capacity of the government will be tested. We will soon be covering over 120 districts and even more in a few more months. We cannot afford to fail. We need to show that we can deliver results and benefits. He asked all Ministries and Departments to apply themselves with dedication to this major initiative and the challenging task in rolling out the DBT program.