New Delhi: Union finance minister Arun Jaitley said on Sunday that savings made through Aadhaar implementation can fund three public welfare schemes of the magnitude of Ayushman Bharat — the ambitious healthcare programme to provide free hospitalisation to millions of poor people.
“The government estimates that Rs 90,000 crore have been saved in the last few years till March, 2018 by the use of the Aadhaar,” Mr Jaitley wrote in a social media post. He said that several duplicate beneficiaries, non-existent beneficiaries and fake beneficiaries have been eliminated due to Aadhaar.
“The Digital Dividend Report prepared by the World Bank estimates that India can save Rs 77,000 crore every year by the use of Aadhaar. The savings through Aadhaar can fund three schemes of the size of Ayushman Bharat,” said the finance minister.
Mr Jaitley admitted that BJP while in Opposition, had some reservations on Aadhaar particularly with regard to non-citizens being enrolled. He said that immediately after the formation of the NDA government, a presentation was made to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi by Nandan Nilekani.
“At the conclusion of the presentation, the Prime Minister consulted others present and, decisive, as he is, immediately took the decision to go ahead with the idea of Aadhaar,” said finance minister.
Ayushman Bharat - Pradhan Mantri Jan Aarogya Yojana aims to provide a coverage of Rs 5 lakh per family annually, benefiting more than 10.74 crore poor families for secondary and tertiary care hospitalisation through a network of empanelled healthcare providers.
Since its launch in September, nearly 7 lakh poor patients have been provided free hospital treatment.
Mr Jaitley said the UPA, because of its contradictions and indecision, remained half-hearted about Aadhaar.
“Instead of taking credit for it, Congress lawyers challenged it in Court and appeared as the anti-technology, anti-Aadhaar faces,” he said.
The total amount of subsidy transferred through Aadhaar now equals Rs 1,69,868 crore.
“With the elimination of middlemen the benefits go directly to the bank accounts. This is a unique technology implemented only in India. The monies saved through Aadhaar is money fruitfully employed for the poor elsewhere,” Mr Jaitley said.
Since the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Bill was passed in 2016, in the last 28 months over 122 crore Aadhaar numbers have been issued. About 99 per cent of the adult population of India above the age of 18 stands covered.