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Empty Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) cylinders are seen at a gas distribution centre at Dujana village in Noida, on the outskirts of New Delhi October 7, 2015. [ Representational image]Reuters file

The Government is expected to save RS40,000 crore this fiscal year through the direct transfer of welfare and subsidies to beneficiaries. Finance ministry was successful in saving over Rs30,000 crore in 2017-18 through the Direct Benefit of Transfer (DBT).

The total sum saved through DBT since its inception in 2013 will reach Rs1.25-lakh crore in FY19. The savings from DBT over these 5 years will approximately equal to the total subsidy provided by the government in FY19 on fertilisers, petroleum, interest and minor items, all of which are tabled under 'Other Subsidies' in the Union Budget.

Food subsidy is not included in these subsidies, which constitute the bulk of the government benefits. Moreover, the government is expecting to save more once the entire subsidy regime is brought under DBT through disbursal of direct subsidies. Through DBT the government has already disbursed about Rs4-lakh crore.

Savings from the DBT till March 31, 2017 stood at Rs57,029 crore; taken with the Rs32,984 crore savings for FY18, the total savings add up to rs90,012 crore. The DBT scheme is heavily dependent on JAM, the trio of Jan-Dhan accounts (over 31.26 crore), Aadhaar (over 121.46 crore) and Mobile connections (105 crore), which is one of the pilot project of the current NDA regime to ensure food security to all.

Cleaning up of the LPG subsidies has contributed most to the DBT savings. The government data shows that since its announcement, 3.79 crore "duplicate, fake/non-existent, inactive" LPG connections have been eliminated. In addition to that, more than 2.22 consumers stopped claiming the subsidies, which also includes 1.04 crore "Give it up" customers. "Give it up" was a campaign initiated by central government asking the customer to give up consuming subsidized cylinders, who could afford to buy from the market.

The trio of JAM have saved nearly Rs30,000 crore in food subsidy after the deletion of 2.75 crore "duplicate and fake/non-existent" ration cards (including some due to migration, death, and so on).Likewise, the Ministry of Rural Development saved over Rs16,000 crore on wages after eliminating fake or ineligible beneficiaries.

The DBT was initiated by the UPA government on a pilot basis on January 1, 2013 to make delivery of government welfare simpler and faster with the accurate targeting of beneficiaries, de-duplication and reduction of fraud. The scheme took off in November-December 2014 when entire districts and key schemes were brought within its ambit.