Centre scales down launch of cash scheme to 20 districts

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New Delhi, Dec 31: Adopting caution, the central government on Monday scaled down the launch of its ambitious direct cash transfer scheme on Tuesday to 20 districts instead of 43 as planned earlier, keeping LPG also out of its ambit for now.

Touted as a "game changer", the programme will cover a select 26 schemes like educational scholarship for SC/ST and OBC and widow pension. Food, fertilisers, diesel and kerosene have already been kept out. Addressing the media on the eve of the roll out, Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram said the programme was being launched tomorrow only in 20 districts in six states and three Union Territories because the government wanted to move cautiously.

"We are proceeding with a great degree of caution... We will look at transferring all subsidies and benefit through this scheme but we have to do it slowly. We are not going to rush into anything and then find that the system cannot cope with it," he said. Among the reasons why the launch was scaled down were all beneficiaries not having bank account to receive cash and inadequate Aadhaar enrolment.

The government had originally identified 51 districts across 16 states to be covered by the programme under which cash subsidy benefit will directly go to the bank account of beneficiaries with mandatory requirement of Aadhaar number. Subsequently, four districts each of Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat were exempted from the roll out tomorrow because of Assembly elections. The states to be covered in the initial phase are Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Delhi, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Punjab and UTs of Puducherry, Chandigarh and Daman and Diu.


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