The Congress-led UPA Government is not taking any chances. It has not only put the direct cash transfer scheme in mission mode, but has the Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister Pulok Chatterjee making sure that no official less than a secretary plays hands-on role in the timely despatch of cash to the beneficiaries.
The scheme is scheduled to roll out from January 1. So, when Finance Minister P Chidambaram sounded optimistic about the scheme getting implemented without a hitch and mentioned the next DCT meeting in this connection, he probably had the mission mode committees on his mind.
No sooner had the government’s intention of launching the scheme was announced through a notification on October 25, two committees -- Financial Inclusion Committee on DCTs and a Technology Committee on DTC -- were formed. This was done in November 16 to set the ball rolling.
On the two committees, Chatterjee states in a circular, only secretary-level officials can be involved, who have to chalk out a plan for speedy implementation of the direct cash transfer scheme without further delay.
Attendance to meetings of the committees has also been made mandatory.
In case, the secretary of the ministry concerned is not available, then no one below the rank of a joint secretary can be deputed.
In all, 18 officials comprise the two committees, handpicked from the departments of Financial Services, Post, Planning Commission, Electronics/IT, Rural Development, Social Justice and Empowerment, P&NG, Labour and Employment, Food and Public Distribution and others.But the government will constitute yet another Implementation Committee on Electronic Transfer of Benefits linked to each ministry/department, which will also have secretaries to the ministry/department on board.
As Chidambaram said: “A number of programmers have been identified. Around 42 schemes of the government being administered by a number of ministries have been identified.
Many of these are scholarship schemes but others are old age pension, national security assistance programme, schemes administered by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Women and Child Development.
And, there is of course MNREGA -- the job guarantee scheme floated during UPA-I regime.”
The ministries are obliged to digitise all the beneficiaries, hence the committee on technology.
The names, addresses and the benefits will be digitized in a standard inter operable form, which will be made available to banks.Basically, beneficiaries will be given ATM cards to draw out cash sent from the Centre of power.