Launched in 2013, the Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) scheme replaced the then existing delivery process. Through the use of IT, the scheme transferred subsidies directly into the Aadhar-linked bank accounts of targeted beneficiaries.
Since its advent, Rs 26.5 lakh crore has been transferred for central programmes. Thanks to such direct transfers, the union government had managed to save about Rs 2.2 lakh crore as of March 2021 by removing the names of 9.4 crore beneficiaries across databases — names that were either duplicate, or fake, or non-existent.
Within the span of the past decade, the DBT has already expanded from 24 schemes in 43 districts, to 200 central schemes and over 2,000 state government schemes pan India.
The number of central schemes rose to 426 in the year 2019-2020, when more than Rs 3,81,000 crore was transferred to 144.7 crore beneficiaries, helping provide relief to those whose livelihoods were impacted.
The number of schemes fell to 316 in 2020-21, and 313 in 2021-22, but the funds transferred rose to over 5,52,00 crore (179.9 crore beneficiaries) and over 6,30,000 crore (179.9 crore beneficiaries), respectively. In FY 2022-23, as of 5th Jan 2023, over Rs 3,80,000 crore has been distributed to 159.5 crore beneficiaries for 310 programmes.
The DBT scheme has enabled the accurate identification and targeting of beneficiaries, and made it easy to avail of services through online applications. It ensures transparency in the transfer of funds as well, and has eliminated the existence of middlemen and agents, thus curbing leakages in the delivery process.
India’s DBT implementation has won praise from the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, as well as many other international organisations, for efficiently providing support to the underprivileged sections of the society.