New Delhi: To plug
leakages in the subsidy system, the government will soon provide
cash through banks and ATMs directly to the beneficiaries in lieu
of subsidies on kerosene, cooking gas and fertiliser.
"Direct transfer of subsidies on liquified petroleum gas (LPG),
fertiliser and kerosene will help in curbing pilferage and
leakages," Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said Tuesday after
receiving a report on direct subsidies.
A committee headed by the Unique Identification Authority of India
(UIDAI) Chairman Nandan Nilekani has suggested that the poor
should be given subsidies directly. The money can be transferred
to the beneficiaries' bank accounts.
The committee has suggested that automated teller machine (ATMs)
and mobile banking could also be used for providing cash subsidies
to the beneficiaries.
The task force, constituted by the finance minister in February,
Tuesday submitted a comprehensive 70-page report suggesting that
the direct subsidy scheme should be launched on a pilot basis.
Talking to reporters, the finance minister said the scheme would
be launched on a pilot project basis and the final decision will
be taken after six months.
"The pilot project will take around six months. Taking into
account the experience from the pilot project they will submit the
final report by the end of this year," Mukherjee said.
The task force has suggested that the pilot project be implemented
in seven states - Maharashtra, Haryana, Rajasthan, Orissa, Assam,
Tamil Nadu and the National Capital Territory of Delhi.
In its interim report, the task force has also recommended setting
up a core subsidy management platform as part of the proposed
solution architecture that automates all business processes
related to direct subsidy transfer.
The core subsidy management system would maintain book-keeping
information on entitlements and subsidies for all beneficiaries.
It will also provide increased transparency in the movement of
goods, levels of stocks, prediction and aggregation of demand, and
identification of beneficiaries.
The task force has also recommended providing choice of banks to
beneficiaries, along with an interoperable network of Business
Correspondents for convenient access to subsidy funds.