Health, fertiliser subsidies to come under DBT scheme

New Delhi, May 6 (IANS) The government is already extending cashless direct benefit transfer (DBT) scheme for subsidies under the Food Security Act and plans to extend the facilities for health insurance and fertiliser subsidies too, the Lok Sabha was informed on Friday.

“Finance minister (Arun Jaitley) has announced in this year’s budget that we will try to introduce DBT facilities for fertiliser subsidies. We will start trials this year itself,” Minister of State for Finance Jayant Sinha told members during question hour.

Answering to a specific question from Premsingh Chandumajra (Akali Dal), the minister said this is being done and it will help eradicate the “leakage” in the financial system.

“So far the scheme was used for NREGA payment, but for future we have started pilot programmes for health insurance programme,” Sinha said.

He also said such mechanism has been made part of the Food Security Act. “The potential of doing cash transfers instead of distribution of food grains has been experimented with. There are pilots that have been run in the union territories of Chandigarh, Puducherry and Dadra and Nagar Haveli where these trials are going on,” Sinha said.

Sinha admitted that the DBT scheme though started by the previous United Progressive Alliance (UPA), it has been expanded by the present government.

“By implementing Jan Dhan Yojana and ensuring that 50 per cent of the Indians who did not have access to bank accounts were able to have a bank account, we were able to massively expand the scope of DBT,” he said.

Among others asking supplementary questions, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) member R.K. Singh alleged that “the fair price shop system is thoroughly corrupt and almost 50 per cent of the subsidy is diverted to the pockets of middlemen”.

Answering him, the minister said, by taking steps like “computerising and providing biometric authentication in all of the fair price shops”, government will be able to tackle leakages and the diversions.



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