The Indian government gives all sorts of subsidies to the poor related to agriculture and ration. A nation like India that suffers from considerable poverty does require the subsidy system to provide the poor with necessities at low costs. But until the Modi government came to power, the system of disbursement of subsidies was riddled with corruption at the hands of middlemen.
It was clear that the UPA – that was itself swimming in corruption – didn’t want to eliminate these middlemen and stop the leakages. But the Modi government has no vested interest in breeding these leeches. This is why it evolved the Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) system to disburse subsidies and other benefits to the poor.
Biometric cards have facilitated disbursement of as much as Rs 83,184 crore of benefits to the poor through the DBT mechanism without any leakages. The mechanism involves the Jan Dhan Yojana and the use of Aadhaar cards.
“Real benefit of Jan Dhan and Aadhaar is finally reflected in the number of beneficiaries of government DBT schemes. The amount of funds transferred under DBT schemes between 1st January 2013 and 31st March 2017 is Rs 83,183.79 crore,” an Assocham-Thought Arbitrage report said on completion of three years of the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana scheme.
But the real success of the mechanism lies not in the amount disbursed but in the fact that this was done without any leakages something that once seemed impossible considering the complicated way in which the government schemes functioned. This is as good an example of the ‘good governance’ that Prime Minister Modi has often talked about.
DBT schemes have weeded out 3.34 crore duplicate consumers under PAHAL and 2.33 crore fake ration cards have been deleted. The stopping of leakages has resulted in savings of Rs 49,500 crore till December 2016. Total subsidy paid under DBT in 2016-17 was Rs 74,502 crore. The cash subsidy paid under DBT is further expected to increase to Rs 1 lakh crore.
This has been one of the most significant of successes of the Modi government as it has empowered the poor in real sense and given them what they deserved.