With the economic growth rate crashing to a 40 year low to -7.3% at the end of March 2021, the government would need to increase cash benefit transfers to the most vulnerable sections of our society. According to annual GDP data from the government, India's GDP growth rate contracted in the last year due to the havoc caused by the COVID-19 virus. The data shows that while private consumption reduced by 1.1% of GDP in the last year, government consumption expenditure increased by a similar amount as a proportion of GDP. However, Indians have suffered a lot in the last year with the pain subsiding very slowly. Kotak Mahindra Banks' chief executive Uday Kotak, and Nobel Prize Economist Abhijit Banerjee have called on the government to print money and had out cash to the poorest sections of our country. In the last year, the government has spent nearly Rs 1.50 lakh crore in additional cash benefit transfer measures, apart from existing schemes, announced as part of its Atmanirbhar Bharat fiscal rescue package. But due to its excessive reliance on Aadhaar, many households are excluded from receiving these benefits either because they are not counted in the list of beneficiaries or due to technical errors when withdrawing cash. If the government plans to step up is social sector expenditure this year as part of a second fiscal rescue package, in the wake of the second wave of COVID-19 virus, it needs to fix issues in how it identifies beneficiaries and reduce…
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