PM launches Aadhar-enabled service delivery system
Millions across the country may soon get benefits of various government schemes, like cooking gas subsidies and old age pension, targeted at them with the launch of the much-awaited Aadhaar-enabled direct cash transfer system.
Prime Minster Manmohan Singh and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi launched the much touted payment mechanism which is aimed at checking corruption and pilferage in the social sector schemes that seek to promote financial inclusion.
The launch of the scheme coincides with the second anniversary of Aadhaar project, which is being implemented by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI).
In the last two years, the UIDAI has generated over 20 crore Aadhaar numbers. The Aadhaar number 21 crore was handed over to a villager in Dudu by Sonia Gandhi at a function in Jaipur which was also attended by Finance Minister P Chidambaram, Chief Minister of Rajasthan Ashok Gehlot, Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Union Ministers Sachin Pilot, Ashwani Kumar and Namo Narain Meena among others.
"This is very significant thing and it will help reducing wastage, fraud and corruption," said UIDAI Chairman Nandan Nilekani.
Use of Aadhaar-based delivery mechanism will improve compliance management, reduce leakages and increase efficiency and accountability of the government's social sector schemes.
The government is rolling out Aadhaar enabled service delivery initiative in 51 districts across the country. It will be used for making pension payments, MNREGA payments, PDS distribution, scholarship payments, an official statement said.
UIDAI Director General R S Sharma said, 80 per cent of the work in the 20 districts out of total 51 districts, will be completed by December 2012. Around 80 per cent work in the remaining 31 districts will be completed by the March 31, 2013.
UIDAI has been mandated to cover a total population of 60 crore by March 2014 across 18 states including Delhi, Haryana, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Himachal Pradesh and Rajasthan.
Aadhaar, a 12-digit number, serves as a proof of identity and address anywhere in the country. It is an online identity platform that can be accessed in real-time for authenticating beneficiaries and can be adapted by various user agencies.
He also presented 'Aadhaar Governance Awards' and 'Aadhaar Excellence Awards' at the function.
Speaking on the occasion, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot said several social welfare schemes in the state will be Aadhaar enabled in future.
Remembering former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, Gehlot said IT revolution has brought a major shift in the lives of people and the Aadhaar card will also bring positive changes.
"With Aadhaar, we can ensure that the entire money that is sent from the Centre reaches real beneficiaries in remote areas. This will be a significant achievement," he said.
He announced linking of Public Distribution System at three places including Dudu and Chomu (Jaipur) in the state with Adadhaar enabled delivery system.The chief minister also announced a scholarship scheme for higher education in the state under which Rs 500 will be given for five years.
Ongoing pilots of Aadhaar Enabled Service Delivery weretelecasted live from respective destinations on the launch inthe presence of the Prime Minister and UPA Chairperson Budha devi of Jharkhand shared her experience of getting MGNREGA wages conveniently through Aadhaar Enabled Service Delivery in Ramgarh.
At the function, ongoing pilot projects of Aadhaar Enabled Service Delivery of PDS in Kakinada- East Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh, Social Security payment in Aurangabad- Maharashtra, LPG cylinders delivery in Mysore- Karnataka, MNREGS payment in Ramgarh- Jharkhand and Old Age Pension payments in West Tripura district of Tripura were telecasted live.
Image: Manmohan Singh addressing at the launch of Aadhaar Enabled Service Delivery, in Dudu, Jaipur, Rajasthan on October 20.
Photographs: Courtesy: PIB.