Govt May Link More Welfare Schemes to Aadhaar Platform
New Delhi: The government will not only streamline existing subsidies but also possibly come up with more targetted welfare schemes and sub-schemes since Aadhaar allows for new ways of beneficiary verification and identification that were not possible before, director general of the Unique Identification Authority of India AB Pandey told ET in an interview.
With Parliament passing a legislation giving sanctity to the ambitious as well as controversial unique identity project, Aadhaar is set to cross another major milestone of touching the figure of 100 crore cardholders by Monday.
Pandey said the authority will soon get a chairperson, a position which has been lying vacant since Nandan Nilekani, founder chairman of UIDAI, left office in 2014 to content elections. “A chairperson will be appointed within the next 4-5 days,” said Pandey, without divulging further details.
The appointment of a chairman is mandated by the Aadhaar Bill, which was passed in Parliament as a money bill in March. The Supreme Court had in a ruling earlier restricted the use of Aadhaar to just a handful of government schemes, but following the passage of the bill, the government is in the process of restarting linkage with schemes that were halted earlier. Work is also on to identity existing schemes of the government that can be linked to Aadhaar and brought on the Direct Benefits Transfer, or DBT platform.
Pandey said while work is going on at this front, in future, the linkage with Aadhaar could give birth to various new kinds of schemes since using the UID number, the government can verify beneficiaries in new ways and customise or modify schemes accordingly so that “benefits reach directly to the people”.
He gave an example of the new mandate by the government to withdraw cooking gas subsidy for those earning above .₹ 10 lakh. “This is a new form of the LPG subsidy which has been made possible because of Aadhaar,” he said. Pandey said linking of all welfare payments with Aadhaar will arm the government with new kind of data and enable government to design schemes for different target audiences within the same scheme. For instance, the government may decide to increase oldage pension for a particular person who doesn’t have a family after looking at his public distribution system data, which is also linked to the Aadhaar platform.
ET had reported earlier that all central government schemes involving transfer of benefits in cash or kind are expected to transition to the DBT platform from April.
Set to mark 100 crore cardholders today, Aadhaar will get a new chairperson this week