Aadhaar troubles for direct cash transfer scheme

While most districts in the first phase do not have verified digitised Aadhaar number database, some, which have this, are not linked to the bank accounts of beneficiaries which has become a major concern

As the government races to launch its flagship direct cash transfer programme from 1st January, the low concentration of Aadhaar database in the identified 43 districts is a cause of major concern, reports PTI.
The programme, under which cash subsidy will be transferred electronically in bank accounts directly, is to be linked to Aadhaar number of a beneficiary.
The government has identified 43 districts across 16 states for the rollout of the programme on 1st January but sources said the Aadhaar number concentration is very low, particularly in rural areas of these districts.
The sources say that while most districts in the first phase do not have verified digitised Aadhaar number database, some, which have this, are not linked to the bank accounts of beneficiaries.
With an aim to ensure smooth rollout of the programme, 43 senior officials of the government have been sent to the identified districts to assess preparedness for launch of the first phase on 1st January.
The Centre has already made it clear that the roll out of direct cash transfer (DCT) scheme in the identified 43 districts in the first phase from January should be done only after ensuring that intended beneficiaries have Aadhaar number linked with their bank accounts, which will be mandatory for transfer of benefits.
The sources add that verified database of beneficiaries as per norms is only about 25% as of now and various state governments are racing to complete their database.
The scheme can at present be implemented in few of the total 43 districts on 1st January, claim the sources, going by the verified database of beneficiaries. They said the programme can be implemented in the remaining districts in the next few months.
Under the programme, 34 central schemes would be covered in the first phase. 
The Planning Commission has in a recent circular to 16 states and Union territories, where the scheme is to be implemented in the first phase, made it clear that they have "to ensure that all the intended beneficiaries have or get an Aadhaar number before commencement" of the programme.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has also held a meeting recently to discuss ways to fine tune coordination between Aadhaar and banking systems with the beneficiaries.
It was decided that focus should be on 43 districts as eight of the remaining 51 identified districts were not ready because of Assembly polls in Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat.
The sources said 35 districts would be covered on 1st January and rest of 43 districts would be covered by 10th January.
During the meeting, ministers were told that there should be no phased roll out within any district and the entire district should switch to direct cash transfer at one-go.
Working on the roll out on war footing, the government is according priority to digitisation of beneficiary databases with names, addresses and Aadhaar numbers. All ministries are to ensure this immediately, the sources said.
Government has said that over 95% beneficiaries should have bank accounts, with all banks being Aadhaar-compliant, before implementing the programme.
Sources say in some districts the Aadhaar number penetration is 80% in urban areas, but a poor 5% in rural areas.


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Equity mutual funds' banking sector exposure soars to 20.1%

Besides banking, MF's exposure to none of the sectors is in double digits, with software being the second-best with an 8.7% exposure


Mumbai: The mutual fund (MF) industry is betting big on banking space with investments worth more than Rs42,000 crore in bank stocks -- taking this sector's exposure to the highest level in more than three years, reports PTI.


According to latest data available with Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), mutual fund industry's investment in bank stocks stood at Rs42,022 crore at the end of November, which was 20.6% of the industry's total equity assets under management (AUM) of Rs2.04 lakh crore.


Besides banking, the exposure to none of the sectors is in double digits, with software being the second-best with an 8.7% exposure.


At current levels, the MF industry's is also highest exposure to banking sector since at least August 2009 both in terms of percentage as well as in absolute terms.


The data is not available for sector-wise mutual fund exposure before August 2009, when the equity funds had deployed Rs22,587 crore (12.73%) in banking sector.


The mutual funds had pumped in Rs38,668 crore in the banking shares at the end of October, while their exposure in the sector was at 19.7% of the AUM.


Market experts believe that the passage of the Banking Bill by Parliament along with expectations of rate cuts by the Reserve Bank early next year have made equity fund managers to raise their exposure in this sector.


"We have been seeing a steady rise in investment in bank shares in the last three months by mutual funds on expectation of a reduction in key short-term lending rate by RBI in January and passage of the Banking (Amendment) Bill, which would pave the way for entry of more players and investments in the sector, have given a further boost," Destimoney Securities MD and CEO Sudip Bandhopadhyay said.


The year 2012 has seen a consistent growth in investment in banking stocks by the industry's equity fund mangers and their exposure have risen from 17.2% of total AUM in January to 20.6% in November. In absolute terms, funds infusion has grown from Rs32,380 crore to Rs42,022 crore.


In November, banking was followed by software sector which have attracted Rs17,745 crore or 8.7% of AUM, consumer non durables (Rs16,387 crore or 8.03%) and pharma (Rs5,689 crore or 7.69%).


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