New Delhi: The government saved Rs57,000 crore, “pocketed" earlier by middlemen, as a result of the im plementation of Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) in various public schemes, IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said on Friday.

Scores of schemes like MGNREGA have been linked to DBT, under which the receivables are transferred directly to the beneficiary’s bank accounts, he said. “We have saved Rs57,000 crore, which used to be pocketed by middlemen (earlier)," he said at the “Digital Haryana Summit". The government had informed Parliament that there were over 33 crore beneficiaries under 84 schemes which have been linked to the DBT at the end of February 2017. Prasad further said that there is a proposal to link Aadhaar with driving licences as well as vehicle registration to ensure that multiple licences are not issued in case anyone seeks to do so.

Referring to the debate on security of Aadhaar data, he said the biometric information—which includes iris scan and fingerprints—is stored in an encrypted form and is very secure. “If you look at the physical card, it has my photo, says I am a male and has my permanent Patna address at the back. It does not have details like names of my parents, caste, religion, educational qualification, financial income or health records. None of the things by which you can be profiled are mentioned on the Aadhaar card," he said.

He added that “Aadhaar is a digital identity" which confirms the physical identity with the help of biometrics and there are laws in place to check against unauthorized usage of Aadhaar. Prasad, along with Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar, unveiled a slew of initiatives around IT, start-ups and cyber security. To boost the start-up ecosystem in Gurgaon, the state government and IT industry body Nasscom have set up a start-up warehouse.

The 84 seater unit also has a mobile application development incubation centre within the warehouse. It has already received more than 350 applications from start-ups for facility. Besides, the state government also launched the Centre for IoT (Internet of Things), Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE), and incubation centres.

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