India tackles subsidies

The Op.-Ed. written by A.K. Bhattacharya of ‘Business Standard’ is a MUST READ for those who are missing the wood for their parochial trees on what the new government in India has done or not done.

He cites three specific measures the government has taken:

The first initiative pertains to the fillip given to the Aadhaar network of creating biometrics-based identity for the country’s residents. The scheme has got fresh momentum and the latest number on its coverage is estimated at 750 million, or over 60 per cent of the country’s total population.

The second initiative is what is popularly known as the Jan Dhan Yojana. The target at the launch of the scheme, according to the government, was to open 75 million new accounts by January 26, 2015. By the middle of January, the number of accounts opened under the scheme has crossed 115 million.

The third initiative is what is now popularly known as the Pratyaksh Hastantarit Labh or Pahal, which allows consumers of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) to claim their subsidies directly through their bank accounts.

All these schemes should help improve governance and rationalise subsidies. And the irony is that all the three schemes were actually started, perhaps in a different format, by the UPA government. The Modi government made a big difference by showing conviction in them and giving them a big push.

The column can be found here.

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