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Jaitley Meets Top Officials to Discuss DBT Efficiency

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Monday held a meeting with secretaries and the CEA to discuss ways to streamline the Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) scheme for ensuring that only the needy get the subsidies.
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Jaitley Meets Top Officials to Discuss DBT Efficiency
New Delhi: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Monday held a meeting with secretaries and the CEA to discuss ways to streamline the Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) scheme for ensuring that only the needy get the subsidies.

The government transfers subsidy to LPG users as well as to beneficiaries of scholarships and pension schemes directly to their bank accounts under the DBT.

From April 1, kerosene subsidy too will be transferred directly to beneficiary accounts. DBT for kerosene will help curtail subsidy outgo for the cooking fuel which in 2014-15 was about Rs 24,799 crore.

"Today's meeting discussed social sector programme and the implementation of the DBT scheme. Some of the inputs will definitely be used to streamline and modify the DBT," an official said.

Held against the backdrop of preparation for the Budget 2016-17, the meeting was attended, among others, by Finance Secretary Ratan Watal, DEA Secretary Shaktikanta Das, Revenue Secretary Hasmukh Adhia and Chief Economic Advisor Arvind Subramanian.

They looked at ways to improve the JAM (JanDhan-Aadhar- Mobile) trinity which aims at using technology to promote social sector schemes.

"This will also help in reducing budget deficit and ensuring that public funds benefit only the poorer section," the official added.

The focus, the official said, is to remove the last mile bottlenecks with regard to implementation of the DBT scheme.

The meeting comes ahead of the Budget, to be unveiled by Jaitley on February 29.

Streamlining of DBT would help reduce government expenditure on subsidies and contain fiscal deficit without sacrificing the interest of poor, officials said.

The government is looking to bring down the fiscal deficit to 3.5 per cent of GDP in the next fiscal from 3.9 per cent estimated in 2014-15.

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