NCAER in collaboration with the DBT Mission, organized a one day Northeast Regional Workshop on Direct Benefit Transfer in Imphal, Manipur. Apart from NCAER and the DBT Mission, the other stakeholders that participated in the workshop included the Unique Identification Authority of India, National Payments Corporation of India, Ministry of Finance, Reserve Bank of India, Department of Posts, Ministry of Telecommunications, Common Services Centre, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, MicroSave, and Centre for Digital Financial Inclusion, along with senior policy planners from the seven sisters and Sikkim. This workshop is part of NCAER’s ongoing study on “Implement Digital Direct Benefit Transfers: A DBT Readiness Index for the States of India”.
The main objectives of the workshop were: firstly, assess challenges in the implementation of DBT in the North-eastern region and address the respective challenges raised by various stakeholders stemming from their individual perspectives. Secondly, disseminate the concept note of NCAER on the DBT Readiness Index and the information requirements to assess the State/UT DBT Readiness Index measure. Thirdly, provide a facilitating platform to the DBT Mission and state governments in the North-eastern region (including the seven sisters and Sikkim) and other key stakeholders for DBT adoption, and address the challenges likely to arise in its implementation.
Following were the major challenges foreseen in the implementation of DBT in the North-eastern region:
In order to further facilitate the transfer of knowledge between the Central and state governments, NCAER, jointly with MicroSave and with support from BMGF, is undertaking a survey to assess the DBT Readiness of States. During the workshop, NCAER also outlined the need for such a survey, which would help assess the ability of states to adopt government-to-citizen (G2C) and government-to-bank (G2B) ICT-based solutions, entailing the electronic transfer of cash or delivery of in-kind goods and services based on biometric authentication.
Citing the example of Krishna district in Andhra Pradesh, NCAER emphasised that the implementation of DBT would result in significant savings by doing away with duplication and weeding out of the ghost beneficiaries. In this way, the assessment and ranking of the states, from high achievers to average achievers, through the survey would help the states in identifying the lacunae in the implementation of DBT. It was argued that even if the government enacts good policies and puts the relevant infrastructure in place, limited usage of the facility among citizens would lead to limited success of the scheme. The proposed survey will thus engender a sense of competition among the states, encouraging them to do better in the areas where improvements are needed. MicroSave also recounted some of their experiences on the field.
The workshop helped in promoting an understanding of the myriad problems faced by the North-eastern states in implementing DBT. It also offered the Central and state governments an opportunity to identify the areas in which the Central Government (and its associated bodies) needed to intervene for providing adequate support and infrastructure to the states in effective enforcement of the programme.
Know more about NCAER’s ongoing study on “Implement Digital Direct Benefit Transfers: A DBT Readiness Index for the States of India”.