Mr Jaitley, your claim on Aadhaar + Direct Benefit Transfer gain of Rs 90,000 cr annually is false

“The whole world is shocked that a scheme that seemed impossible, i.e Aadhaar, and the benefits that the government provides to weaker sections of society and others in the form of direct benefit transfer (DBT) is working and financial inclusion has happened. The saving due to this is Rs 90,000 crore per year. Rs 90,000 crore per year means four schemes like Ayushman Bharat (National Health Protection Scheme) can be implemented,” Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said on November 2, 2018.

Jaitley’s claim on saving of Rs. 90,000 crore per year due to DBT is false.

The savings of Rs 90,012.71 crore is not for a year but are a cumulative up to financial year 2017-18.

“Today, the Aadhaar operation has led to empowerment of poor people and saving of Rs 90,000 crore public money,” reply by electronics and information minister Ravi Shankar Prasad to the Rajya Sabha (upper house of Parliament) on August 3, 2018.

According to Fact Checker, the annexure to the reply also shows Rs 57,029 crore saved was cumulative till March 2017 and Rs 32,983.71 crore was saved during financial year 2017-18, which shows that Rs 90,012.71 crore were not saved in a year, as claimed by the Finance Minister.

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Under the Aadhaar-enabled DBT schemes, government subsidies are transferred to the bank account of beneficiaries but this claim Rs. 90,000 crore savings from Aadhaar and DBT is also disputed by various studies. The studies opine that the savings made from these are exaggerated.

“The government’s estimates of savings do not stand up to scrutiny, and whatever is termed as savings is often the result of a denial of legal entitlements,” Fact Checker quoted Reetika Khera, economist, IIM-Ahmedabad, who wrote this in December 2017 for the Economics & Political Weekly.

IndiaSpend reported on January 9, 2018, that  a study published by an arm of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) stated that the benefits of Aadhaar are unclear and that there is not proper study done to know the impact of DBTs to the poor.

Fact Checker reported on March 19, 2016 that as opposite to the government’s claim of saving Rs. 14,672 crore through direct transfers of subsidies to cooking-gas consumers, it instead reported a loss of Rs. 97 crore.

Credit: Fact Checker

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