NEW DELHI :
The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government has claimed to have saved ₹51,664.85 crore in 2018-19 through direct transfer of subsidies to genuine beneficiaries. Since the direct benefit transfer (DBT) scheme was implemented in January 2013, it has helped the government plug subsidy leakages by eliminating intermediaries and middlemen, which in turn resulted in a savings of about ₹1.41 trillion, the government added.
Since 2014-15, the government has transferred ₹7.23 trillion in subsidies directly to the bank accounts of the poor.
Out of this, over ₹33,314 crore was transferred in 2019-20, data released by the government showed.
The government offers 439 subsidy schemes, including for cooking gas, Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MNREGS), Ayushman Bharat, fertilizer subsidy and various scholarships, among others, which fall under the ambit of DBT.
Any cut in subsidies, which remains one of the main contributors to India’s fiscal deficit, is expected to help improve the country’s sovereign ratings.
In 2018-19, as many as many as 590 million individuals gained from the government’s DBT scheme, under which subsidy is directly transferred to the beneficiaries’ bank account.
Better targeting of beneficiaries helped cement Bharatiya Janata Party’s support base, with the NDA storming back to power with a bigger mandate, winning as many as 353 seats in the 542-member Lok Sabha. The BJP alone won 303. In the 2014 general elections, the coalition had got 336 seats.
“In the last five years, we have created a transparent mechanism for directly delivering basic services to the bottom of the pyramid by leveraging Aadhaar, DBT and Jan Dhan accounts," the BJP’s election manifesto for the 17th Lok Sabha elections had claimed.
The previous NDA government had been pushing for Jan Dhan Yojana, Aadhaar and mobile numbers (JAM) as a game-changing reform for better targeting of subsidies.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s flagship scheme for financial inclusion, Jan Dhan Yojana, which provides banking services to all households, also played a crucial role in expanding the scope of DBT.