Jaipur: The UPA government on rolled out the direct cash transfer system under Aadhaar scheme to eliminate fraud and corruption with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh saying government will use technology to bring transparency.

The launch, marking the second anniversary of Aadhaar project, is aimed at checking corruption and pilferage in schemes and to bring transparency in implementation.

"Our government wants to make maximum use of technology, IT in particular, on large scale to make the administration accountable and to bring transparency and Aadhaar is a significant step in this direction," Singh, who launched the scheme in the presence of UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, said.

"We always make efforts to provide opportunities to people of economically weaker section to grow and prosper, and this project was also started with this objective. This will help crores of unemployed people. People face problem in starting a business or taking advantage of government’s welfare schemes if they do not have a identity proof, and we want to remove such difficulties," he said.

"Cash benefits under the schemes will be transferred to the accounts of the beneficiaries. On the basis of Aadhaar, we can ensure that benefit of schemes reach genuine beneficiaries and that there is no mediator," he said.

Handing over Aadhaar card number '21 crore' to Bali Bai, who hails from Udaipur district, Gandhi said, "It is the biggest scheme, of its kind, in the world and one of the important programmes of UPA government....the vision behind this is very clear- to provide Aam Admi a right of identity.

"This will transform lives of aam admi. It is being used as residence proof in few states, and this will help the government transmit subsidy directly to accounts of the beneficiary," she said.

The scheme will be used for making payments to beneficiaries under MGNREGA, PDS, social security pension schemes, LPG distribution scheme, Chief Minister’s rural BPL housing and Chief Minister’s higher education scholarship.

Speaking at the function, Finance Minister P Chidambaram said, "Aadhaar is a boon for government schemes. It will help government in implementing welfare schemes and programmes like pension and scholarship schemes, subsidy on LPG cylinders and kerosene, effectively and to make sure the real person gets the benefit".

Aadhaar, a 12-digit number, serves as a proof of identity and address anywhere in the country. It is an online identity platform that can be accessed in real-time for authenticating beneficiaries and can be adapted by various user agencies.

Noting that the Unique Identification Authority of India has made remarkable achievements in a short span of time, the Prime Minister congratulated the officials for their performance.

He also presented ‘Aadhaar Governance Awards’ and ‘Aadhaar Excellence Awards’ at the function.

Speaking on the occasion, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot said several social welfare schemes in the state will be Aadhaar enabled in future.

Remembering former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, Gehlot said IT revolution has brought a major shift in the lives of people and the Aadhaar card will also bring positive changes.

"With Aadhaar, we can ensure that the entire money that is sent from the Centre reaches real beneficiaries in remote areas. This will be a significant achievement," he said.

He announced linking of Public Distribution System at three places including Dudu and Chomu (Jaipur) in the state with Adadhaar enabled delivery system.

The chief minister also announced a scholarship scheme for higher education in the state under which Rs.500 will be given for five years.

Ongoing pilots of Aadhaar Enabled Service Delivery were telecasted live from respective destinations on the launch in the presence of the Prime Minister and UPA Chairperson.

Budha devi of Jharkhand shared her experience of getting MGNREGA wages conveniently through Aadhaar Enabled Service Delivery in Ramgarh.

At the function, ongoing pilot projects of Aadhaar Enabled Service Delivery of PDS in Kakinada- East Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh, Social Security payment in Aurangabad- Maharashtra, LPG cylinders delivery in Mysore-Karnataka, MNREGS payment in Ramgarh- Jharkhand and Old Age Pension payments in West Tripura district of Tripura were telecasted live.

600 million to have Aadhaar cards by 2014

Nearly 240 million people have been registered for issuing Aadhaar cards bearing the unique 12-digit identification number given to residents of India, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said on Saturday.

Over 600 million, or about half of the country, will receive the card by 2014.Congress chief Sonia Gandhi handed over the 21st crore (210 million) Aadhaar card to Bali Devi, a resident of Purawar village of Udaipur district.

The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), administers the Aadhaar card, bearing the unique number.

Singh was addressing a gathering of around 100,000 people at a ground in the town, some 60 km from Jaipur.

In attendance were Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, Finance Minister P Chidambaram, Deputy Chairman of Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahuluwalia, Minister of State for Science and Technology Ashwani Kumar and Minister of State for Communication and Information Technology Sachin Pilot.

Aadhaar was launched in 2010 to provide an irrefutable proof of identity to all citizens of India making it the world's largest biometric-based identity database.

"The first Aadhaar card was issued at a tribal village in Maharashtra about two years ago....now over 24 crore (240 million) people are registered under the project. Aadhaar has become one of the biggest projects of its kind in the entire world," Singh told the gathering.

"The UPA government had always worked for the welfare of the common (people). The project was launched to achieve the same objective," Singh added.

The project will "help implement the public welfare schemes launched by the UPA government in a more effective way. Complaints are received often that gas connections, diesel, fertilizers etc which are provided on subsidized rates don't reach the people," the Prime Minister said.

"These benefits could be made to reach people through direct cash transfer to the beneficiaries. We will ensure through Aadhaar numbers that money reach the right person," said Singh.

He also said that Aadhaar card will help citizens open bank accounts, get mobile phone connections, book air and rail tickets with ease.

Students will get easy identity for scholarships.He said that about 600 million people will receive Aadhaar cards by 2014.

"We have tested the use of Aadhaar in Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Tripura and Maharashtra. We will extend the project to other parts of the country," said Singh.

Singh also awarded government officials from Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand and Maharashtra for their extraordinary and innovative contribution to improve public service delivery using Aaadhar.

Launching the nationwide Aadhaar Enabled Service Delivery, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi said in her address that the Aadhaar card will bring positive changes in the people's lives.

"Aadhaar is not just a card, it will become an 'Aadhaar' of every citizen in the country," said Gandhi.

Gehlot announced that the state government plans to give salaries to its employees on the basis of Aadhaar cards from February 2013. The state will also link benefit payments of 10 different government social schemes with the Aadhaar card, he said.

PM gives Aadhaar awards in Rajasthan

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday gave Aadhaar awards to district officials from three states for their efforts to improve delivery of services to people using the scheme.

Congress chief Sonia Gandhi handed the 21st crore Aadhar number to Bali Devi of Purawar village of Udaipur.

Officials from Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand and Maharashtra were given Aadhaar Governance and Aadhaar Excellence Awards for their efforts to improve the services delivery to people and bring transparency in governance on the second anniversary of Aadhaar at Dudu here.

Two officials, including one from a government oil company was also awarded.

The Aadhaar Enabled Service Delivery comprises public distribution system in East Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh, social security payment in Aurangabad in Maharashtra, LPG cylinder delivery in Mysore in Karnataka, MGNREGS payments in Ramgarh in Jharkhand and old-age pension payments in West Tripura.

In attendance were Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, Finance Minister P. Chidambaram, Deputy Chairman of Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahuluwalia, Minister of State for Science and Technology Ashwani Kumar and Minister of State for Communication and Information Technology Sachin Pilot.

Aadhaar was launched in 2010 to provide an irrefutable proof of identity to all citizens of India making it the world's largest biometric-based identity database.

The Unique Identification Authority of India is running various pilots of Aadhaar Enabled Service Delivery like public distribution system in the country.

(Agencies)

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