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Apr 05, 2013 at 11:53pm IST

Direct Benefits Transfer programme has run into difficulties, says PM

New Delhi: The government for the first time has officially admitted that its flagship programme, Direct Benefits Transfer (DBT), has run into difficulties. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday said that the exercise of the scheme, that had been rolled out in January this year, has revealed poor nature of tracking and monitoring systems in departments.

"We 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. I hope due attention will be paid to these aspects as we move forward in implementing the programme," Manmohan Singh said at a meeting on DBT here.

Saying he was told that the "exercise of implementing Direct Benefits Transfers has revealed the unsatisfactory nature of tracking and monitoring systems we have in various departments", the Prime Minister said, "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 one of the things that Direct Benefits Transfers will achieve, in addition to making the process of getting benefits simpler for the beneficiaries and eliminating corruption and wastage."

Noting they had "come some distance since Direct Benefits Transfer programme was rolled out in January, he said, "In this period, we have resolved a number of operational issues. I am encouraged by this progress and hopeful about the future. But we have also run into difficulties that we had not anticipated when we began the programme. We must therefore renew our efforts for successful implementation of the programme."

He said that the programme would be extended to 78 more districts. He said, "With this, we will cover over 120 districts which is roughly one-fifth of the country. I am also happy that we will be including the three pension schemes of Rural Development under the programme."

The Prime Minister asked all departments to apply themselves with commitment to this major initiative. "There should be a system in place where people can get a simple bank account on demand if they have an Aadhaar card. Such a spread of financial inclusion will have many other benefits, far beyond cash transfers alone. For bankers, this is an investment in their bank's own future growth," he said. He stressed that it must also be ensured that the coverage of Aadhaar is adequate and no one is left out. Aadhaar should be available on demand, he added.

(With Additional Inputs From IANS)