Thursday, March 10, 2011

Task Force for Direct Transfer of Subsidies

A mechanism will be worked out for giving direct subsidies to check graft

Sopan Correspondent / New Delhi

With rampant corruption in the distributive mechanism, the government has constituted a Task Force to evolve a suitable mechanism for direct subsidies to individuals and families who are entitled to kerosene, LPG and fertiliser.

The Task Force, under the Chairmanship of Nandan Nilekani, Chairman, Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), would also evolve a model of direct transfer of subsidies on these items by re-engineering existing systems, processes and procedures. It would also undertake designing appropriate IT systems and aligning these with the issuance of UID numbers, and bringing about changes in the administration and supply chain management.

Apart from Nilekani as Chairman, the Task Force will also consist of Secretaries from Departments and Ministries like Expenditure, Financial Services, Chemicals & Fertilizers, Agriculture, Food & Public Distribution, Petroleum & Natural Gas and Rural Development. It would submit its Interim report within four months of its constitution.

The recommendations of the interim report would be implemented on a pilot basis by the Ministries concerned under the supervision of the Task Force in the following six months from the date of submission of the interim report. The final report would be submitted thereafter which would include the results of the implementation of the solution on the field.

The need for constitution of the task force arose as the Government of India provides kerosene at subsidised prices to BPL families under the Public Distribution System (PDS) and there is overwhelming evidence that this policy is resulting in waste, leakage, adulteration and inefficiency.

“Therefore, it is imperative that the system of delivering the subsidised Kerosene be reformed urgently,” an official added. The system of provision and delivery of subsidised LPG to intended beneficiaries needs to be similarly reformed.

As of today, fertiliser subsidy is available to all farmers. It is not possible to differentiate the segments for which the subsidy should be given in this sector. There is a need to evolve a suitable mechanism for direct subsidies to individuals who are entitled to them.

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