By stressing that none of the departments can afford to fail in implementation of the Direct Benefits Transfer programme, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh revealed that his government truly believes that the scheme is a game changer.
He expressed anxiety that the tracking and monitoring system of the progamme rolled out so far was poor.
The cash transfer scheme launched in January has been touted by P Chidambaram and Kapil Sibal as the game changer in the politico-social context. The programme was today extended to 78 more districts and Singh expressed satisfaction that a fifth of the country was now covered under the programme.
The scheme ran into difficulties as it involves a few cumbersome steps - digitising data, enrolling in Aadhaar, opening bank accounts and seeding these accounts. Singh, while addressing the national committee on direct benefits transfer, stressed that departments would now need to be more alert in the way business was transacted and funds released. The tracking of funds and how they were spent is also of utmost importance, he said. Three more pension schemes of the rural development department have been added to the existing 45 schemes covered under the DBT programme.
Singh also expressed fear that the illiterate have not been helped in opening bank accounts on demand. He suggested that the banking system needs to integrate the post office system, which is widespread.
The Prime Minister was also very clear that the Aadhaar cards should also be available on demand.