by June 3, 2008 0 comments

Q What were the challenges and business problems that led to implementing
this project ?
The entire application was developed by NIC for computerization of BPL
Census 2002 data and aimed at computerization of the survey data of the rural
households and depending on parameters, provided the BPL list above the cut off

For the first time, the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India ordered that the BPL
list would be dynamic and subject to change to a process of appeal. It was
deemed proper to have a web based online monitoring system so as to enable the
updation of the list from time to time. With the introduction of RTI, it was
also necessary to pro-actively display the list to public so as to ensure that
the names of ineligible persons could be deleted if the public files appeals
against such an addition in the BPL list. In addition to this, with the new
social security schemes being introduced, the demand for BPL list came from
various quarters time and again.

In order to provide access to the BPL list by the government departments, a
web based online monitoring system was considered most suitable. In order to
identify a BPL family, a unique number was allotted. The project has facilitated
online updation of BPL list based on the agreed process.

Ram Lubhaya
Principal Secretary, Rural Development and Panchayati Raj Department,
Govt. of Rajasthan

The unique numbering of each BPL family prevents the filling of duplicate
form by the same person and he can also have computerized access to a particular
job card. The same code has also been used for issue of NREGA job cards.

Q What were the key benefits gained after having deployed this project ?
Online data has provided access to the BPL list for the user department as
well as for the general public and also a transparency to the entire process of
BPL selection which is a very delicate subject. Online data availability of
various parameters relating to BPL families and rural households has also helped
in the planning process at the district, block and village panchayat level.

Department of Rural Development, Govt of Rajasthan undertakes the
identification of households living below poverty line at an interval of every
five years. This process is known as BPL census. In 2002 Government introduced
13 socio economic indicators each ranging from 0 to 4, to grade rural families.
Earlier selection of BPL census was done on the basis of exclusion due to
possession of certain key assets or facilities. Earlier, the list once prepared
remained applicable for next 5 years and it was hard for the Department to
frequently update it. On the basis of reports of NSSO, the total number of
families in the state was earlier fixed as 17.36 Lacs. Later the govt. allowed
to include/ exclude a family on the basis of a suo-moto survey or appeal. Due to
this the list was becoming quite dynamic in nature and Department of Rural
Development faced the urgency of putting the list at a central location. Also
the benefits under various rural development schemes were distributed according
to this list and it was hard to trace whether the benefits were delivered to
rural people or not.

To make BPL Census easily available at a central location and bring
transparency into the same, Department of Rural Development started online BPL
Census project with NIC. The Last survey for BPL was done in 2003 which was
based on 13 parameters defined in 2002. This was the first time when the survey
was conducted for all rural households, which turned out to be more than 92 Lacs
for the state of Rajasthan. At the same time online BPL census project was
conceptualized but due to some legal issues the project went Live in 2006 only.

Indu Gupta
State Informatics Officer & Senior Technical Director
NIC Rajasthan State Unit, Jaipur

"It was really a great challenge for us,
processing of over 92 Lacs rural households’ data in a stipulated timeframe.
BPL list maintenance is a continuous process, therefore workflow has been
introduced through this online application. BPL lists are being used by all
the stake holders in state and central schemes through Internet. Special
applications and reports have been built to fulfill the needs of Rural
Development Department and other stake holders. All households in rural
areas of state are uniquely identified in BPL Online in the state as per the
survey conducted by Zila Parishads. Update facility is used for further
additions, alterations and deletions from blocks through broadband, where
ever it is available and authorized by Zila Parishads using NICNET or any
other network. Rajasthan became the first state to provide digitized data
for BPL families for Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY).

Still we are trying to improve it for optimum
usage. Our team is working 24 X 7 to maintain this application."

Now the challenge was to capture details of over 4 crore rural citizens. For
capturing details of each family using OMR/OCR technology to complete the
project in minimum possible time. For this a form was designed to capture the
details of a family in one A4 duplex sheet. This was the first time when such a
form was used for such a massive survey. Each form had a unique serial number to
identify each family with a unique serial number. This also led to
identification of each citizen with a unique number i.e. combination of family
serial numbers and serial number for each member of that family. The coding
pattern used is similar to what Government of India follows, except for location
code for a village. Location code for village is the same as that of census 2001
location code for make coupling of data easy for planners.

Content preparation work was outsourced to various agencies by districts, as
a result contents submitted by them needed to be validated. Furthermore filling
up the OCR/OMR sheets was the first experience for enumerators. A validation
module was created and provided to all stakeholders involved in content
preparation and authentication exercise by NIC. The errors were codified, and
both detailed and summary error statements were provided at each level.

After validating the contents the data was consolidated for whole of the
state. Various reports were generated for the user for depicting pattern of
socio-economic status of rural households. The content preparation was done
using DevLys font, but while porting it on web database, it has been converted
in to UNICODE font. A website ( for project management was
develped, which later turned in to single window for all BPL related tasks.

In addition to online BPL Census web application, another application (Gram
Sarathi) was implemented for capturing the benefits extended to BPL families on
the BPL database, this provided facility to monitor the execution of government

After implementation of this project, BPL list has become dynamically
updateable. Now a sustainable list is available to the department and all
additions and deletions are made to this list, instead of doing a new survey
after the gap of 5 years. However the department frequently verifies the
database to ensure that correct and updated information is available on the
portal. Anyone can go to the portal and view BPL reports.

Citizens of Rajasthan can check on the portal whether they are on the list or
not. Main end customers of this project are all government departments
functioning in rural area and Rural Development and Panchayati Raj Departments.

The online census list is also used by other key organizations and
departments like Social Justice and Empowerment Department, Food and Civil
Supplies Department, World Bank, Health and Family Welfare Department, NREGS,
LIC for implementation of Jan Shree and Aam Aadami Beema Yojna and ICICI Lombart
for Rashtriya Swasthya Beema Yojna. In future NIC is going to couple the
database with a GIS application.

Implementation Partner
Prashant Mittal
Technical Director, NIC Rajasthan

Only with the advent of new technology like
web applications, this projected could be implemented so easily, but with a
lower penetration of ICT in rural areas especially in Rajasthan, it was not
so easy. Familiarization and training of the field staff was another
challenging task. As the content preparation work was outsourced to various
agencies by districts, a lot of effort was required to coordinate and
validate contents submitted by them.

Still it was difficult to have zero noise in
data. But it started getting refined as soon as the data was put to use by
the government.

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