Andhra Pradesh, which accounts for close to one-fourth of the 200 million Aadhaar enrollments achieved in the country, is struggling to be a part of the Government of India’s direct benefit transfer (DBT) scheme as not many of the 45-million UIDs issued in the state are beneficiaries of the central welfare schemes.
“One reason being that just 10-15 per cent of those enrolled with UID are the below poverty line families who normally avail of the government welfare benefits. Most BPL families did not enroll as the UID was neither linked to the availing of these schemes to compel them for enrollment nor were they motivated by any government agency to do so,” said a senior government official.
The disconnect between the Aadhaar enrollment and the DBT scheme was least expected in Andhra Pradesh because the state tops in UID enrollment in the entire country while covering half of its population with Aadhaar.
Except three schemes of the departments of Women & Child Welfare and Health & Family Welfare, rest of the 34 schemes being linked to Phase one rollout of DBT from January 1 are just pre and post metric scholarships and a few higher education scholarships. In AP, five districts — Hyderabad, Ranga Reddy, Chittoor, Anantapur and East Godavari — were chosen for the pilot. In these districts there are about 750,000 eligible student beneficiaries while the number of beneficiaries under the Indira Gandhi Matritva Sahyog Yojana (IGMSY), Dhanalakshmi and Janani Suraksha Yojana are only a few thousands, officials said.
Yet, the DBT rollout had to be deferred because many even in this small number do not have UIDs though the overall enrollment figure is very high. The authorities have now confined the rollout of DBT to only East Godavari and Anantapur on January 6. “What happened till date was a ration card-based Aadhaar enrollment. We are opening 50 to 100 new centres to complete the Aadhaar enrollment process in the next 15-20 days in these districts,” said P V Ramesh, principal secretary, department of finance.
Of the 34 central schemes, 25 are being implemented directly by the Government of India and the remaining nine, including the IGMSY, Dhanalakshmi and Janani Suraksha, are being implemented through the state government, according to him.
AP ahead of the curve
However, except in Aadhaar linkage, Andhra Pradesh is well ahead of the curve in implementing all these schemes because the state already has an online database of all these beneficiaries unlike in many other states, according to Ramesh, who is now entrusted with overseeing the DBT rollout in the state.
Also, all the eligible students are being given scholarships under ePASS (Electronic Payment and Application System of Scholarships) linked to banks. This is not the case in many other states. “This is why AP might not see the kind of value addition you could find in other states post BTS rollout,” he told Business Standard.
AP is also planning to include the state government-sponsored EBC (economically backward class) scholarships with the Aadhaar-based BST scheme, he said.
Payments under various welfare schemes, including housing, agriculture input subsidy and pensions, are being directly credited to the bank accounts of the beneficiaries in the state.