Ranchi, Dec. 11: Jharkhand is faced with the Herculean task of trying to complete Aadhaar enrolments of four districts by December 31 for a pilot project to enable the Centre launch direct cash payment of subsidies from the first day of the New Year.
Planning Commission secretary S. Khullar held detailed discussions with senior officials of the state government over video-conferencing today to apprise them of the task at hand ' direct cash subsidy transfer scheme (DCSTS) which will be launched as a pilot in the districts of Ranchi, Seraikela-Kharsawan, Ramgarh and Hazaribagh.
The primary worry for Jharkhand is that it has a long way to go as far as completing enrolments for Aadhaar number/cards, spearheaded by Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), based on which beneficiaries of central schemes are to open bank accounts where the cash subsidy would be credited.
For, out of a population of 67 lakh in the four pilot districts, only around 29.5 lakh have been enrolled for Aadhaar number/cards. According to figures accessed by The Telegraph, Ranchi has been able to complete enrolment of only about 13.5 lakh in a population of 29 lakh and Ramgarh 3.85 lakh in a population of 9.5 lakh.
Hazaribagh, too, is not well placed ' only 7.73 lakh out of 17.34 lakh have got Aadhaar numbers/cards. Similarly, Seraikela-Kharsawan has been able to enrol only around 4.15 lakh against a target of 10.63 lakh.
"It was desirable for us to have completed enrolment of the entire population of concerned districts by December 2012 as under the direct cash subsidy scheme, beneficiaries can be given central/state government sops only if they possess Aadhaar-enabled bank accounts," state information technology secretary N.N Sinha told The Telegraph.
Today's video conferencing, at the National Informatics Centre (NIC) in Nepal House, was attended by, among others, development commissioner Debashish Gupta, labour department principal secretary Bishnu Kumar, health secretary K. Vidyasagar, finance secretary Sukhdev Singh and social welfare secretary Mridula Sinha.
Under the direct cash subsidy scheme to be effective from January 1, 2013, Centre and state grants for as many as 34 schemes (like LPG and kerosene subsidy, student scholarships, old-age and widow pension schemes, and MGNREGS payments) would be credited directly to the beneficiaries' Aadhaar-enabled bank accounts.
For those without Aadhaar numbers, the old system of payment to bank accounts would continue.
As many as 51 districts of 16 states will be part of the nation-wide pilot. A meeting of deputy commissioners of the pilot districts has been scheduled in Delhi on Thursday.
Recently, Ranchi deputy commissioner Vinay Kumar Choubey had directed all agencies connected to Aadhaar enrolments to complete as much as possible by December 31 so that the entire target group could be extended benefits of direct cash subsidy on schedule.
But the task is daunting in capital Ranchi. Out of 79,000 beneficiaries of old-age pensions, only about 1,250 have got Aadhaar cards so far. Other districts have logged even poor numbers.