Chidambaram says Aadhaar, DBT introduced in UPA govt, BJP cites data to mock him for claiming ‘credit’

PTI, Oct 15, 2022, 9:24 AM IST

A day after IMF praised India’s Aadhaar and Direct Benefit Transfer programmes, ex-finance minister P Chidambaram credited the Congress with introducing them as the BJP asserted it was the Modi government which expanded the schemes to benefit a huge number of people.

The ruling party mocked Chidambaram for linking the two schemes’ successes with the previous UPA government, saying by this logic the Congress will claim credit for all poverty alleviation programmes as it had given “Garibi Hatao” (eliminate poverty) slogan while doing nothing about it from the days when Indira Gandhi was prime minister.

In a tweet, the Congress leader noted that the International Monetary Fund praised India’s Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) scheme as a logistical marvel and also the innovative use of Aadhaar.

He added, “Before the BJP rushes to claim credit for DBT and Aadhaar, please recall when they were introduced and by which government. Aadhaar was launched on 28-1-2009. DBT was introduced on 1-1-2013. Both by the UPA government.”

BJP leader and Union minister Bhupender Yadav posted an old video of Chidambaram making a speech in Parliament in which he appeared to question the Narendra Modi government’s thrust on digital transactions and hit out at him.

“Surprising how the same man who stood in Parliament to mock Digital India has the audacity today to claim credit for DBT and Aadhaar because IMF praised the moves,” Yadav said.

In his speech, often cited by BJP leaders, the former finance minister is wondering how traders in village fairs are expected to have PoS (Point of Sale) machines and internet connection to receive payments for the sale of potatoes and tomatoes.

Yadav tweeted, “The single biggest reason for the success of DBT scheme is the opening of bank accounts under the Jan Dhan Yojana of the Narendra Modi government. Over 45 crore accounts have been opened as of April 2022 under the scheme empowering the same poor who your government deliberately wanted to keep poor.”

BJP IT department head Amit Malviya tweeted, “Will the former, out on bail, FM, ‘honestly’ tell who deserves credit after looking at some stats? 2013-14: 43 districts covered and Rs 28 crore paid through DBT. 2014-22: Over 750 districts covered and Rs 25,66,000 crore paid through DBT. Merely “introducing” a mechanism isn’t enough.”

“Truly transparent and honest approach of the Modi government led to the introduction of JAM trinity (Jan Dhan Bank Accounts, Aadhar, Mobile), Aadhar Payments Bridge, expansion of NPCI/UPI, Digital India Mission caused the DBT and Payments Revolution in India which has earned the praise of all,” he added.

The IMF has described India’s deployment of a direct cash transfer scheme and other similar social welfare programmes as a “logistical marvel”, saying there is a lot to learn from the country which is one of the most inspiring examples of the application of technology to solve complicated issues. It also praised the Aadhaar scheme.

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