“Humne Direct Benefit Transfer scheme shuru ki. Pehle, alag alag yojnae gareebo ke naam par chalti thi, lekin pata hi nahin chalta ki us gareeb ko milti thi ya nahin milti thi. Aisi aisi vidhwao ko pension jata tha jo bachchi paida na hui ho lekin sarkari daftar mein vidhwa ho jati thi, aur usko sarkari khajane se paise milte rehte the. Humne Direct Benefit Transfer se yojna shuru kiya. Aadhar number se verficiation kiya.“, stated PM Modi while addressing a rally in Bidar, Karnataka.
We started direct benefit transfer scheme. This resulted in money reaching to its rightful owner. We successfully eliminated middlemen: PM pic.twitter.com/TYjaZY1IGH
— ANI (@ANI) October 29, 2017
After claiming that NDA Govt started the Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) scheme, he went on to state that leakage of over Rs 57,000 Crore which earlier used to end up in the hands of middlemen has been plugged because of introduction of Direct Benefit Transfer scheme.
My govt has saved Rs. 57,000 crore of public money from middlemen through DBT. This is one of the reasons corrupt parties hate me : PM Modi pic.twitter.com/D54O5eSYWG
— BJP (@BJP4India) October 30, 2017
While there’s no doubt that India for long has suffered from the sort of leakages that PM Modi mentioned in his speech, was the Direct Benefit Transfer started by NDA Govt as PM Modi claimed?
As it turns out, the roll-out of Direct Benefit Transfer scheme started in 2013 and was announced in the Union Budget of India in February 2013.
In a PIB press release in February 2013, it was announced that the DBT Scheme would be retrospectively effective from 1 January, 2013. The release stated, “The Government of India has decided to introduce a Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) scheme with effect from 1 January, 2013. To begin with, benefits under 26 schemes will directly be transferred into the bank accounts of beneficiaries in 43 identified districts across respective states and union territories (UT).”
In fact, two tweets posted on August 31, 2017 by the Office of Prime Minister of India themselves are a testimony of the fact that Direct Benefit Transfer scheme started in the 2013-2014 financial year under UPA Government. In the first tweet, while illustrating the growth of Direct Benefit Transfer Scheme, it is shown that 7367.7 crores were transferred to beneficiaries via Direct Benefit Transfer in the 2013-2014 financial year. In the second tweet, it is shown that 10.71 crores of beneficiaries became part of the DBT scheme in the financial year 2013-2014. According to the tweets, the aforemention figures increased to 74607.55 crores and 41.63 crores respectively in the 2016-17 financial year.
It must also be mentioned that as the Chief Minister of Gujarat, Mr Modi was very critical of UIDAI or Aadhar which forms the backbone of the Direct Benefit Transfer scheme.
On Aadhaar, neither the Team that I met nor PM could answer my Qs on security threat it can pose. There is no vision, only political gimmick
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) April 8, 2014
Further more, Union Minister Ananth Kumar in April 2014 had gone to the extent of stating that they would scrap Aadhaar if they get the mandate.
While it cannot be denied that the Direct Benefit Transfer has grown considerably under the NDA Government led by PM Modi, one fails to understand as to why the PM would need to claim that NDA Government started this scheme when there’s plenty of evidence to the contrary.