|Centre's Good Governance Initiatives|
Prime Minister Narendra Modi Government has introduced a series of reforms to address the critical challenges facing the country like cleanliness, access to healthcare, clean energy, education and livelihood. The initiatives that had most remarkable impact on the lives of the common people in the past one year include Ayushman Bharat, Ujjwala Yojana, DBT in Fertiliser, e-Malkhana and e-Governance initiatives in education and urban livelihood mission, among others.
These projects have proved highly impactful in bringing positive change in the lives of the people. These and other reform measures introduced by Modi government have received appreciation from the global agencies. “My prescription is that openness to reforms and innovations, and improvements in the government structures will allow for faster growth. India has undertaken important reforms in the last few years,” World Bank Group President David Malpass said during his visit to New Delhi in the last week of October.
Within one year of its operation Ayushman Bharat has emerged as a game-changer initiative for the poor. This has not only saved millions of marginalised from falling back in abject poverty but also proved to be a model governance initiative. Ayushman Bharat emerged as the top governance initiative spearheaded by the central government, as per the 2019 SKOCH State of Governance report.
Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana, under which over 8 crore households have been provided free LPG connection in just over 3 years, is ranked as the top social sector initiative. DBT in Fertiliser ensures targeted delivery of government subsidies to farmers. It ensures that the eligible farmers get the proper support at the right time.
A huge transformation has been witnessed in rural development segment. While several economic Pundits have been busy propagating the fear of rural distress and slump in consumption, SKOCH study reveals that there has been a transformative change in the way rural India is spending. In the recent years the focus has shifted on asset creation, instead of consumption. The change in focus cannot be termed as distress. This is certainly a transformation.
Most of the public welfare programmes pushed forward by Modi government have resulted in asset creation. Major schemes that have resulted in significant asset creation in rural India include Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana – Gramin, Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY), National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY), Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan (SBM), Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana (DDUGJY), Saubhayaga, Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) and Ayushman Bharat scheme (AB-PMJAY). Jal Jeevan Mission introduced in August 2019 is another important scheme targeted at significant asset creation in the rural India.
Launched on 23 September 2018 Ayushman Bharat – Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY) is a flagship healthcare scheme of Modi government. It seeks to provide a cover of up to Rs 5 lakh per family per year for secondary and tertiary care hospitalisation. More than 10.74 crore poor and vulnerable families, or nearly 50 crore people, are covered under the scheme.
In terms of the number of beneficiaries Ayushman Bharat is the world's largest government funded healthcare programme. SKOCH conducted a nationwide survey study of the scheme. The ground level study shows that Ayushman Bharat is the best performing social welfare scheme in the country. It has saved millions of vulnerable people from falling in the debt trap and vicious cycle of poverty due to expenses incurred on healthcare.
While most of the schemes look good on paper and promise transformation, the most striking feature of the Ayushman Bharat is its delivery at the ground. Nearly 41 lakh people have benefited in less than a year. None of these people have been subjected to make any payment. Although, there is no data on how many of the beneficiaries were already below the poverty line, a large number of them who had come out of poverty might have fallen back.
Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana is the topper in social sector initiatives. The pace and scale of the scheme is remarkable. Over 8 crore households have been provided free LPG connection in just over 3 years. Nearly 95 per cent of India's population today has access to LPG gas connection. This figure stood at 55 per cent in 2014.
The scheme has multiple health, environmental and economic impacts. Marginalised women and children have benefited the most. This scheme has also been implemented without any intermediary getting involved at any stage. Elimination of intermediaries ensured that the 100 per cent money spent from the public exchequer reach the intended beneficiaries.
Popularity of the scheme can be gauged from the fact that the targets have been achieved much before the stipulated time. The government had set a target to distribute 8 crore LPG connections under the scheme by March end 2020. But the target was achieved nearly seven months ahead, 7 September 2019. The scheme was launched on 1 May 2016 in Ballia, Uttar Pradesh.
Another notable thing about the programme is that there have been concerted efforts to develop infrastructure to meet the growing demands. Addressing a function to give the 8 croreth LPG connection on 7 September, Prime Minister Modi said that a holistic infrastructure comprising 10,000 new LPG distributors, mostly in rural India, had been created. “New bottling plants have been built. Terminal capacity near ports has been increased and pipeline network has been widened. 5-kg cylinders are being promoted. Piped gas is also being delivered. We want to ensure that not a single household remains without LPG connection,” he said.
The International Energy Agency (IEA) has termed the Ujjwala scheme as the game-changer in ending energy poverty. “Providing access to LPG across India by 2020 is a major achievement. It is not an energy issue, it is an economic issue, it is a social issue," Fatih Birol, Executive Director, International Energy Agency, said while praising the scheme. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has also hailed the scheme for its positive impact on the health of poor women and children.
With a view to provide services to urban poor with greater transparency and efficiency and help in livelihood the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs has introduced a centralised electronic platform for processing interest subvention on bank loans to beneficiaries under Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana – National Urban Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NULM). The new system is called Portal for Affordable Credit and Interest Subvention Access (PaiSA).
Under the new system, subvention amount is directly credited to the accounts of beneficiaries on a monthly basis and the beneficiary is informed through SMS about such credit. PAiSA, which aggregates banks, States and Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) on a single online platform, is the first web portal of its kind that automates and facilitates real-time exchange of information between all the stakeholders; simplifying release of interest subvention to the borrowers in DBT mode.
PAiSA is a remarkable e-Governance initiative aimed at promoting financial inclusion through a centralised system. The money intended for the beneficiaries under the system is transferred under Direct Benefit Transfer mode.
The PAiSA portal has been an initiative under the Self Employment Programme (SEP) component of DAY-NULM. The SEP addresses problem of urban poverty and unemployment by promoting entrepreneurship amongst the urban poor by providing financial support for setting up of micro enterprises. Affordable bank credit of up to Rs 2 lakh for individuals, Rs 10 lakh for groups and savings corpus linked loan for Self Help Groups (SHGs) is available under the Mission. Interest subvention over and above the rate of interest of 7 per cent is provided for setting up individual and group enterprises. Additional 3 per cent subvention is available to women SHGs. The portal for interest subvention was aimed at streamlining and automating the process of release of interest subsidy directly to the beneficiaries account in a timely manner.
Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana is a topper amongst social sector initiatives. The pace and scale of the scheme is remarkable. Over 8 crore households have been provided free LPG connection in just over 3 years.
PAiSA provides end-to-end features for the stakeholders, for processing interest subvention claims, payments, and monitoring at various levels - ULB, State and National. The portal has ensured reduction in cost, turnaround time and efficient delivery of services. Quicker, transparent and efficient process has ensured that the micro entrepreneurs get much needed relief from the interest burden. The improved process has strengthened Credit Linkages and made banks participate more actively under the Mission.
DAY-NULM is a comprehensive programme to address urban poverty through a strategy that layers social mobilisation for the communities, investments in skills and micro entrepreneurship through access to finance, thereby improving their quality of life on a sustainable basis.
As of May 2019, over 1.3 Lakh beneficiaries received interest subvention through this system, out of which 54,658 are women. 25 states and 35 banks are on-boarded on the portal. The ministry has set a target to onboard all states, UTs and all scheduled commercial banks, RRBs and Cooperative Banks on the PAiSA portal.
Ramesh Pokhriyal 'Nishank'
Availability of timely and reliable data is crucial for effective policy making. In the case of schools it is particularly challenging given the vast network and geographical spread. In India, there are over 1.5 million schools, 8.5 million teachers and 250 million children spanning across 36 States and UTs. Getting credible data on this vast network is a big challenge.
In order to overcome this challenge the Department of School Education and Literacy has designed Unified District Information on School Education Plus (UDISE+). This is the updated version of UDISE. The entire system is online and is gradually moving towards collecting data in real-time. Information and data collected through UDISE+ is utilised for planning and implementation of various education related programmes and assessment of progress made thereto.
The new system has developed nearly 4,000 indicators collected from schools on profile, infrastructure, incentives, teachers and students level. This, information collected through UDISE+ is utilised for planning and implementation of various education related programmes and their assessment.
Through UDISE+ data from all 1.5 million schools is collected and is mapped on the GIS. In order to ensure the data quality provided through the UDISE+, a mobile based geo tech application for Third Party Verification is under development, as per the Department of School Education and Literacy, Government of India.
Data collected through the UDISE+ system is being used for the grading of the States for school education through identified indicators in Performance Grading Index (PGI). Grading, in an ideal situation, allows all the States and UTs to be construed as star performer and to be at Grade I being the ultimate goal that PGI hopes to achieve. The System has also been provided with Data Analytics Application for generating query based reports thereby aiding research and analysis aspects to UDISE +.
SKOCH study reveals that the UDISE+ has proved helpful in improving the quality, credibility and usability of the data related to school education. It helps all the stakeholders in devising appropriate interventions to improve the quality of school education.
Biotechnology is emerging as an important industry. It is playing an important role in accelerating GDP growth and creating employment. The government has set up Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC) to catalyse the growth of the sector by facilitating research. In order to ensure effective implementation and monitoring of its activities the Council has set up BIRAC 3i Portal. This portal lists the complete flow of proposal submitted by the user in the field of Biotechnology.
SKOCH study reveals that BIRAC 3i Portal is dynamic, robust and scalable portal that ensures effective management of various investment schemes operated by Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council. This is the first of its kind system in any Government agency, conceived early in 2010 to manage the proposals from submission to evaluation to monitoring of project proposals, report generation and financial disbursements, to ensure transparency in public funding.
The portal has enabled the management of 10,280 proposals and fund support of Rs 1,030 crore with a commitment of Rs 950 crore from the private sector. The portal is being accessed and used across the country by different stakeholders including industry, academic institutions, and individuals working in the Biotech sector. The BIRAC 3i portal is a PHP application developed for the investments for industry innovation research. BIRAC services cover all biotechnology sector industries, academia and researchers across the country.
BIRAC 3i portal has ensured confidentiality, transparency and efficiency. After implementation of BIRAC 3i portal, following new modules have been implemented in the system: Online user registration; Online submissions of proposals; Access to proposals for expert committee members; Any time status tracking of proposal by the end user; Preparation of agenda through BIRAC 3i portal; and, a robust MIS for reports, project status.
The new system has resulted in substantial reduction in the time involved for processing of proposals due to automation at different levels such as auto firing of emails, system-filtering of ineligibles, automated sanction order generation and monitoring schedules.
D V Sadananda Gowda
Though we are going through digital era there are still some fields wherein work culture is still archaic. One such area is Malkhana, a place in police station where case properties are kept. This has been one of the neglected parts of the criminal justice system in India. This system in most parts of the country is person-driven. So, often the situation is that if the person in-charge of the Malkhana is out of police station for any reason it is near impossible to trace out any particular case property.
Delhi Police has taken important steps in the form of e-Malkhana to make it a system-driven process. The initiative has been implemented in all 180 police stations spread across 15 districts of Delhi. Delhi Police is the Law enforcement agency for the National Capital Territory of Delhi (NCT). It does not have jurisdiction over the adjoining areas of the NCR.
e-Malkhana is the first of its kind initiative in the country. This is an important step towards modernisation of police forces. Police forces across the country face challenges in cases like property management. It is a crucial part of not only internal functioning of a police station but also the efficiency of the criminal justice system. e-Malkhana like initiative could play a crucial role in making police more efficient and ensure timely justice for the common people. The number of people impacted through this initiative is huge. In NCT of Delhi alone over 3 lakh case properties are registered.
e-Malkhana initiative has completely transformed the case property management system in the national capital. Earlier Malkhana used to be a very shabby place creating nasty smell of visceras, seized liquor, petrol, diesel and other bad smelling things. With digitisation the working condition has transformed.
A huge amount of public money is spent on providing subsidies on fertiliser. While the government has been providing subsidies on fertiliser for years, there had not been any robust monitoring mechanism. As a result there used to be huge leakages. The money spent was not reaching the beneficiaries. Modi government has implemented DBT in Fertiliser scheme, under which the money is being transferred directly in the bank account of the intended beneficiaries.
DBT in Fertiliser is a milestone in the field of e-Governance. It provides ease to about 14 crore farmers pan India for the fertiliser availability along with right time at the right price. DBT in Fertilisers is a complex, IT driven initiative. It enables the department to monitor the availability and sale of fertilisers across the country on a real-time basis.
Under this initiative fertiliser is provided to beneficiaries based on biometric authentication. Each retail outlet is provided with an electronic Point of Sale (ePoS) device that has a finger-print scanner. This enables identification of the beneficiary based on his/her fingerprint (Aadhaar-based authentication). The ePoS device retrieves information from UIDAI sever, NIC server and Soil Health Card server for authentication.
DBT in Fertilisers is being implemented with the twin objectives of monitoring effectively the distribution of fertiliser across the value chain (from fertiliser manufacturers to the farmers); and to ensure timely distribution of fertiliser, based on Aadhaar authentication of farmers. Subsidies are now provided only to actual beneficiaries.
DBT in Fertilisers initiative also uses innovative concept of providing recommendations to farmers to use fertilisers on the basis of soil profile/land records (wherever Aadhaar seeded database exists).
SKOCH study reveals that the initiative has brought change in the farmers to use only optimal quantity of fertilisers required in their fields resulting in better yields, improved soil health and reduced costs.
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