Hyderabad: In a major policy decision, the state government has decided to release all welfare benefits only through the Aadhaar card. Chief minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy on Wednesday instructed the officials of the civil supplies department that they should ensure that the beneficiaries of the various state government welfare schemes possess Aadhaar cards for getting ration, pensions, scholarships and Indiramma housing.
Andhra Pradesh is leading in Aadhaar card enrolment in the coutry. Till date, 1.80 crore persons have applied for the 12-digit unique number and a record number of 42 lakh Aadhaar numbers have been generated by the first week of July. According to sources, the Unique ID authority has instructed the departments concerned to complete the work on Aadhaar cards in all the 23 districts by March 31 next year.
Since the Aadhaar card records the iris and ten finger print impression of the beneficiaries, the state government feels that there would be little or no chance for bogus entries. “While the total population of the state is not more than 8.4 crore people, there are more than 2 crore ration cards. At the rate of four members per ration card holder, the total population of the state as per the civil supplies department records exceeds the actual population, implying that there are many bogus or duplicate cards in circulation. With Aadhaar, the menace of bogus cards should be curbed,” said one official.
The various welfare schemes being doled out by the state government are costing the exchequer more than Rs 30,000 crore every year. By making the Aadhaar as mandatory for all welfare schemes, the civil supplies department hopes to cut down on the expenditure. “For example, if the bogus cards are weeded out, the state can save at least Rs 2000 crore on rice subsidy,” said sources.
The Unique ID authority recently wrote to the oil companies to insist on Aadhaar card for new LPG connection. Civil supplies department hopes that this move would effectively reduce illegal connections in the future. The Aadhaar programme is nearing completion in seven districts in the first phase while the process has begun in the remaining districts in the second phase. There are around 4,000 enrolment centers in the state and the number would be increased soon. Maheswaram in Ranga Reddy district will be the first assembly constituency in the state where each resident will possess Aadhaar cards. TOI