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Govt likely to put e-RUPI to use for food, fertilizer subsidies, to start with

Moneycontrol has learnt from a top official that to start with, the e-RUPI platform is likely to be used to transfer food and fertilizer subsidies to beneficiaries. Beyond that, while the technology has possibilities, the government will gauge how it develops and how other welfare schemes can be routed through this channel.

August 02, 2021 / 08:55 PM IST

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while launching the e-RUPI voucher platform, said that it will play a huge role in making direct benefit transfers more effective in digital transactions in the country and will give a new dimension to digital governance.

“This will help everyone in targeted, transparent and leakage free delivery” of welfare schemes, Modi said.

Moneycontrol has learnt from a top official that to start with, the e-RUPI platform is likely to be used to transfer food and fertilizer subsidies to beneficiaries. Beyond that, while the technology has possibilities, the government will see what other welfare schemes can be routed through this channel.

“Potentially, instead of giving someone welfare benefits in cash or kind, we have this hybrid option which can only be used for specific purposes. It can open up a lot of possibilities,” the official said, adding that the centre will look to roll out e-RUPI for food and fertilizer subsidies first.

“We have to roll out gradually. It is a brand new innovation but it will take time. The potential is clear, but translating potential to action we will have to see,” the official said.

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Under the direct benefit transfer programme (DBT), which involves directly transferring sums to the bank account of the beneficiaries, there are some 315 central government schemes across 54 ministries.

These include flagship schemes like PM Kisan, Atal Pension Yojana, direct cash transfer for food grains, Prime Minister Scholarship Scheme, Jan Aarogya Yojana, schemes for anganwadi and ASHA workers, among others.

The official quoted above said it was too early to say whether all or some of the schemes which are routed through DBT will be onboarded onto the e-RUPI platform as well.

However, as per one of the official e-RUPI press statements, the technology can be used for welfare schemes such as providing drugs and nutritional support, TB eradication programmes, drugs & diagnostics, etc.

“India’s leadership in fintech is again established by constant innovation and adaptions for common good. A significant feature of e-₹UPI: the e-voucher allows users to redeem the voucher without a card, digital payments app or internet banking access at the service provider,” Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman tweeted.
Arup Roychoudhury

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