Data and Design Thinking can solve many problems. Used well, they can even bring efficiency and effectiveness to unwieldy social welfare schemes that more often than not do not reach the intended beneficiary. SAP and EasyGov joined hands to do just that.
India spends a whopping Rs. 15 lakh crore on social welfare schemes – that is nearly 1.6 per cent of its GDP and yet, a walk down the road of any urban settlement or village shows telling evidences of poverty and deprivation. Estimates suggest that only 43 per cent of this spend reaches the right beneficiary.
India has aspirations of becoming a $5 trillion economic powerhouse by 2025 but it hinges a lot on inclusive development of all its citizens. The good news is that in the new digitally charged India of today tech driven distribution methods are enabling transparency and accountability. There is a lot more that can be done.
Five factors plague India’s welfare schemes
- Absence of detailed data analysis: Many schemes suffer from poor beneficiary identification, incorrect fund allocation and lack of measurement of impact at both design stage and post disbursement. Hence, underutilization of the schemes.
- Complex application process: Applying for a welfare scheme is cumbersome and cumbersome for applicants to track status.
- Lack of awareness: The big schemes are advertised well, but there are several small schemes targeting specific groups that are not understood well.
- Information Asymmetry: Although a lot of IT interventions have been done, and schemes are on portals, due to multiplicity of platforms, citizens are not able to navigate through the schemes.
- Fraud: Many of the schemes targeted at people below the poverty line end up into the accounts of income tax payees and undeserving beneficiaries.
Towards a Progressive and Sustainable Welfare System
Many of the flagship programs of Government of India and State Governments are successful in ensuring that the benefits reach the intended beneficiary. But the risks of failure are evident because of the challenges related to identification of eligible, verified and needy beneficiaries.
We are yet to solve the pre Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) issue that impacts majority of the social welfare programs in India. Hence, there is an urgent need for us to build technology enabled welfare ecosystem to improve last-mile delivery and accountability.
Amit Shukla, Founder of EasyGov added, “The Government welfare should be transformed from program centric to family centric. The objective of welfare should be to understand the unique need of each family and support them with minimum health, housing, education and food need. The success of welfare interventions should be measured as the number of families pushed outside the welfare net by providing them livelihood interventions”.
The long-term solution does not lie in continuously increasing welfare expenditures. Instead it lies in building a “Progressive and Sustainable Welfare System” which aims at making citizens self-reliant and less dependent on state welfare.
The 4Ds to Improve the Welfare System
SAP and EasyGov approach to welfare aims at transforming welfare to progressive, proactive and family centric – through a unified platform. Data, design, discovery and delivery are the four Ds or pillars on which the welfare system rests.
Demographic and economic data can help in identify target group, short term and long term benefits, potential coverage and expected impact. This will lead to better utilization of welfare budgets towards the goal of ‘Outcome based welfare’.
Currently most welfare systems focus on individuals rather than families. Shifting the focus to the family as a unit may open up better possibilities to provide a holistic socio-economic growth for all. Using data analytics and AI, it is possible to customize welfare benefits keeping in mind their location, economic and social needs, and access to natural resources towards the goal of “Family Before Me”.
On the discovery front platforms like SAP & Easy Gov’s built-for-purpose one can address the issue. It allows citizens to quickly navigate through the hundreds of welfare schemes available and choose one that suits their needs.
From application to approval to disbursement, the SAP EasyGov technology allows for an intuitive, easy to use seamless process that is device agnostic. Not only can citizens quickly apply but at the other end, thanks to the rule based processing system, the welfare officer can approve without the involvement of line departments and typical red tape.
Thus, SAP & Easy Gov approach this transformation by re-engineering the systems through the “Data-Design-Discovery-Delivery” process.
What’s in it for citizens
- Improved visibility & access to most relevant schemes
- Ease & convenient application process
- Reduced cost & time to apply for schemes
- Greater transparency into the schemes and tracking of application status
- Timely delivery of welfare support
- Global standards for data protection and privacy
What’s in it for Governments
- Effective Decision Making, Policy Interventions & Fund Utilization
- Real time decision making
- Better allocation of funds
- Optimize time & resources and drive massive transformation
- Reduce time for roll out
- Completely agile with data driven insights
- Engage larger number of partners
- Enhance Visibility & Control
- 360 degree view of any program
- Enhanced level of alignment with the legislation priorities
India has aspirations to become a $5 trillion dollar economy in the next couple of years with eyes on the $10 trillion figure to rank among the progressive nations. It’s imperative that wastages and leakages in government expenditure be plugged, and inclusive development achieved at a fraction of current expenditure to meet these ambitious targets.
EasyGov is an award-winning startup, a subsidiary of Reliance Jio Platforms focused on transformation of the welfare delivery models. In the past five years EasyGov has worked with State Governments of Haryana, Karnataka, Bihar, Tripura, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, Government of India, and NITI Aayog. Easy Gov is committed to help citizens in assessing the eligibility for welfare schemes, and has the ability to provide end to end service delivery. EasyGov also supports the Government in scheme design based on socio-economic profiles of families, data backed trends and preference analysis.
About the Author
Rajeev Singh is the Vice President & Business Head and recognized as the “APJ Distinguished Leader of the Year 2020”. He drives the growth for the Cloud & License Business in one of the largest segments – Oil & Gas, Utilities, Natural Resources & Public Sector.