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Centre to pay out Rs 1 lakh crore via direct benefit transfer scheme in 2017-18

The central government is targeting to disburse Rs 1 lakh crore through direct benefit transfer (DBT) in the current financial year, even as total pay-outs under the scheme since its launch is set to touch Rs 2 lakh crore this month-end when the government is celebrating its third anniversary.

This is DBT Version 2.0, senior government officials, who spoke to ET on the condition of anonymity, said about the programme to transfer subsidies directly to the beneficiary’s bank account.
"While Rs 1 lakh crore payment under DBT schemes involving cash pay-out is expected in 2017-18, two major inkind subsidies — public distribution system in 34 states and UTs and kerosene subsidy — are also being brought under the DBT,” said one of them.

According to him, 30% of PDS shops have already been DBT-Aadhaar enabled. "Factoring in all in-kind pay-out component schemes, DBT could be covering nearly Rs 3.5 lakh crore of the government’s subsidy budget by the end of March, 2018.”

Though started as a pilot by the UPA government in 2013, the DBT mission has essentially come into its own under the Modi government. While Rs 7,367 crore was transferred under DBT to 10.71 crore beneficiaries in 2013-14 in the UPA tenure, Rs 74,502 crore was transferred to 33.33 crore beneficiaries in 2016-17. The cumulative DBT pay-out, as on date, stands at about Rs 1.94 lakh crore.

The government has been quickly adding more schemes under DBT — the number has increased to 220 as of now from 134 in 2016-17. "The target is to cover 534 schemes, including about 300 cash schemes, over 200 in-kind schemes as well as over a dozen services under DBT, by March 2018. This is expected to make DBT pay-out under cash schemes rise to Rs 1 lakh crore,” an official said.

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