To what extent, the use of technology in welfare initiatives has ensured better service delivery as well as subsidy rationalization? Comment critically.

The food subsidy bill is projected to be around 1.45 lakh crore, however despite that much expenditure the people do not get ration on time. Often there are instances of leakages before the food-grains reach the fair-price shop. Technological solutions like Aadhar, electronic Point of sale(ePoS) can help in plugging these leakages.
Recently Haryana government started ePoS and Aadhar seeding of ration cards. After this move, there is a sudden drop in no of buyers due to increased transparency. This has limited the scope of diversion of food grains to open market. After installation of ePoS,  Rajasthan Government also witnessed less no of beneficiaries because fictitious beneficiaries were weeded out.Once Aadhaar seeding was made compulsory fake ration cards became redundant. Also, Haryana government has initiated Ration card portability where the beneficiary can claim subsidized food under NFSA across any ration shop in the state.
Such initiatives help in the effective targeting of beneficiaries because once person is identified and  Aadhaar-verified, only the right beneficiaries will get the subsidy. It can also help in reducing the subsidy bill and subsidy rationalization because only intended beneficiaries will get the benefit.
However, along with such initiatives, the focus should be on financial inclusion and financial literacy drives to issue aadhar cards so that exclusion errors can be minimized.

Question for UPSC Mains:
To what extent, the use of technology in welfare initiatives has ensured better service delivery as well as subsidy rationalization? Comment critically. Live Mint

Published: September 6, 2017 | Modified:October 15, 2020

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