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in which upa races towards its india shining moment

D-day is 18 days away. On January 1, the Congress-led UPA government will start migrating the delivery of welfare services to a new architecture: straight into an individual’s bank account, verified by a unique identification (UID) number called Aadhaar.

It’s a soft launch. The first of the three stages will unravel in 43 districts where a large percentage of people have bank accounts and Aadhaars. Also, in the programmes earmarked for stage I, worth about Rs 20,000 crore, transfers to bank accounts is already happening; what will change is that they will now be linked to the Aadhaar number to reduce, if not eliminate, duplication.

The complexity of the exercise will increase manifold as more of India is covered in the other two stages, in April 2013 and April 2014. This will also increase as more programmes are added, especially food, oil, fertiliser and employment. In full flow, the money flowing through those pipes could go up to Rs 300,000 crore. So, is the government ready?

It is moving with urgency to tie up loose ends for stage I: opening bank accounts, issuing Aadhaar and matching the two. It is also trying to drum up support. One such private forum on December 17 will see two champions of cash transfers in the government—Jairam Ramesh and Nandan Nilekani—brief the National Advisory Council (NAC) and select members of the media on the government’s plans. Here are six questions, gauging the government’s preparedness for cash transfers, the duo need to answer conclusively…

i am uploading this story late — was in arunachal when this latest magnum opus on cash transfers appeared. anyway, late being better than never, here it is. take a look?

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