India’s Direct Cash Transfer ‘Logistic Miracle’; Use of Aadhaar ‘striking’: IMF

International Monetary Fund (IMF) Deputy Director, Department of Financial Affairs, Paolo Mauro lauded India’s digital cash transfer schemes, which help people with low-income levels, as a “logistic miracle”. He said that in the case of India, the use of UIDAI-Aadhaar in identifying beneficiaries for implementation of social programs is striking.

“The case of India is quite impressive. The sheer size of the country makes it a logical marvel—how these programs, to help people at low-income levels, reach hundreds of millions of people,” Mauro said.

Mauro was responding to a question on the direct cash transfer schemes being implemented by the government.

Mauro said the IMF monitors how countries conduct cash transfers in relation to social programs.

“There is a lot to learn from India. There is much to learn from some of the other examples around the world. We have examples from almost every continent and every level of income. If I look at India’s case, it is actually quite impressive,” Mauro replied to a news agency query.

He said there are social programs in India that target women, the elderly and farmers as “the logistical miracle”.

“Indeed, given the sheer size of the country, it is a logical miracle how these programs helping low-income people reach literally hundreds of millions of people,” he said.

“But even in other countries, there is more use of sending money through mobile banking to people who don’t really have a lot of money but have a cell phone,” Mauro said.

The senior IMF official also highlighted the importance of technological innovation and cell phones in the role of direct cash transfers.

“Therefore being innovative to some extent in identifying people, in processing their applications for transfer by digital means, in deploying funds through mobile banking. This is something that countries can learn from each other. We We also try to have a small venue here where people can compare experiences like these.”

The IMF on Tuesday slashed India’s economic growth forecast for this fiscal to 6.8 per cent, in line with other global agencies that have slashed their forecasts. In July this year, the IMF had projected the FY23 GDP growth rate for India at 7.4 per cent. Earlier in January this year, it had forecast 8.2 per cent growth for the current financial year. India’s economic growth in FY2021-22 was 8.7 percent.