NEW DELHI, Jan. 1 (Xinhua) -- The Indian government Tuesday launched its ambitious direct cash transfer of subsidies to the poor in 20 districts across the country.
Indian Finance Minister P. Chidambaram has said that the plan will benefit at least 200,000 people initially and will be subsequently rolled out to the remaining parts of the country by this yearend.
"We are proceeding with caution. All 26 schemes are ready for rollout in 20 districts from Jan. 1. The money will be transferred through the direct benefit transfer system," Chidambaram has said in the national capital.
The Finance Minister added: "After its launch in 20 districts on Jan. 1, the scheme will be rolled out in 11 more districts from Feb. 1, and in 12 other districts from March 1. After their successful implementation it will be rolled out in remaining part of the country."
The Indian government plans to disburse 3,200 billion rupees ( 58 billion U.S. dollars) under the Direct Benefit Transfer scheme.
Though the Indian government claims that the direct cash transfer will prevent any corruption in making subsidies available to around 360 million people, who currently live in poverty, but the opposition parties say that it is nothing but a gimmick, keeping in mind the general elections in 2014.