Govt May Link More Wel­fare Schemes to Aad­haar Plat­form

The Economic Times - - Companies - Surabhi.Agar­wal @times­group.com

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

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