Discuss the key digital initiative taken by Ministry of Rural Development in recent years highlighting their potential in fixing the lacuane in India's rural development.
As per Census 2011, around 70% of the population lives in rural India, however the fund allocation and level of development are not symmetric to urban areas where only 30% of the population lives. Rural India is largely dependent on fund allocated to Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD). However, despite various initiatives, the quality of service delivery is poor. MoRD has taken various initiatives to leverage digital technology for better, speedy and effective implementation of programs.
For example, in order to identify beneficiaries and avoid duplication along with mapping of assets created under PM Awas Yojana(Gramin) MoRD is utilizing digital technology initiatives like geo-tagging. The tagging not only records entitlements delivery but it also monitors the progress of construction work of the house with photos at regular stages of construction. Now beneficiaries are no longer being selected by the village head but the selection is now based on socio-economic caste census.
Similarly, MoRD with the use of NREGASoft application has geo-tagged 15 million assets under MNREGA. This allows the government to track progress, along with that it provides information to citizens regarding registration applications and job cards in compliance with the Right to Information (RTI) Act. MoRD is also working towards attendance updation via mobile phone, which will ensure better services especially in core sectors like education and health.
Along with MoRD, various other ministries are utilizing digital platforms for better services. For example, Aadhar based pay for financial inclusion, law ministry’s digital initiatives for legal access in rural areas are commendable. For governance, the key is to ensure public participation and transparency and quality in service delivery.
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