by July 23, 2013 0 comments

The Indian govt. rolls out lots of schemes of different kinds for the benefit of citizens. Unfortunately, many of these schemes don’t reach the intended beneficiaries completely. Instead, they end up being utilized by people who they’re not meant for. The govt. of Maharashtra was facing the same challenge with its own schemes, especially the ones related to financial inclusion.

To weed out bogus beneficiaries and to ensure that the right people get the benefits, the Govt. of Maharashtra decided to seed the Aadhaar number in its various beneficiary databases. Since the Aadhaar number uniquely identifies each beneficiary, bogus people can be eliminated from the system.

The Implementation

Maharashtra Govt. used multiple methods to implement this UID enabled financial inclusion project. First, it implemented a State Resident Data Hub (SRDH) to collate all the beneficiary databases. It was observed that the SRDH data was not clean. There were lots of issues with it such as incorrect spellings in Taluka/village names, incorrect local language data, etc. A new initiative of USRDH (Usable SRDH) was launched with the help of BI tools like SAS data flux. Multiple business rules were identified for the data cleaning process and simplification of names, data mining and token generation, match code generation and de-duplication of data.

Web services were developed and exposed for seeding of UID with various beneficiary databases. A web based application was also developed for self-seeding by residents and an SMS gateway based solution was implemented for self-seeding of UID with various department databases like Ration Card, LPG, PAN Card, NREGA Job card, pension schemes, e-Scholarships, etc.

Company Scenario

Before deployment:The benefits of various Govt. schemes were not entirely reaped by people who they were meant for, and were actually going in the wrong hands.

What was deployed: To weed out bogus beneficiaries and so that the right person gets them, seeding of Aadhaar number was initiated. A State Resident Data Hub was created where 6 Crore residents’ details were cleaned and seeded with the Aadhar number.

After deployment: 181,000 online applications received for scholarship and 20% rejected due to Aadhar seeding as they were found to be duplicates, bogus, etc. It also resulted in 25% savings on an average in each govt. scheme.

Implementation partner: Accenture Services

 

In addition to this, tablet and smartphone based Android apps were developed for door to door seeding. A tablet app was created for an enrolment centre survey that was done to check the quality of enrolments being done.

The services of seeding UID into various databases are being provided to all districts in Maharashtra. Data cleaning of various beneficiary databases and conversion of data in local language (Marathi) to English, conversion of non-Unicode local language fonts to Unicode fonts are also being done for all districts in Maharashtra.

Business correspondents were appointed by the banks and residents started getting the banking services right at their door steps which saved their time and money. Live authentication with UID number and finger prints were done using the Micro ATMs for financial transactions.

 

Business and Technical Challenges

The Govt. faced quite a few challenges in cleaning up the data. For one, there were no readymade tools available for the job, hence, they had to initially rely on simple tools like Microsoft Excel. This was obviously grossly insufficient because the SRDH data had some 6 Crore residents’ details, which had to be processed.Coordination was very difficult with the district, Taluka, village level officials, user departments and external agencies like lead bank managers, sponsor banks, beneficiaries, etc. A formal structure had to be created for better coordination like creation of UID cell at district collectorate office.

That was not all. Many other factors also hampered the process, such as lack of technical staff to develop the Android based app and web services. Further, lack of tech savvy staff at district collectorates and user departments also hampered the progress.

Interview: Rajesh Aggarwal, Secretary IT, Govt. of Maharashtra

How did you convince the key stakeholders (management, seniors, etc) for rolling out this project?

UID Linked Financial Inclusion has been a priority area for Govt. of India and the State Government and hence the project received immense support from Hon. Chief Minister of Maharashtra and the senior administrative leadership including the Chief Secretary. To help bring everyone on board, multiple brainstorming sessions were held with Hon. Chief Minister and various Secretaries led by the Chief Secretary wherein the operational aspects and status of the project was discussed and bottlenecks, if any, were removed. Meetings over video conferencing were held continuously with Dist. Collectors to enthuse them about the project.

How did you overcome user resistance for using this deployment?

Fortunately, the UID implementation got huge support from the residents of the state and saw wholehearted participation from them. We have been able to enroll nearly 6.5 Cr. residents till date, and it is increasing every day. Once the residents realized that UID would enable them to open bank accounts, avail of govt. benefits and help them establish a portable proof of identity, they were forthcoming in getting enrolled. There was constant support from the state government, including Hon. Chief Minister and Chief Secretary. This helped us overcome any minor operational challenges at the ground level.

What is the next big IT project that you’re working on?

Several to be completed in another 6-12 months. One is implementation of e-Office, to enable the State Govt. to adopt a paperless file management system, with electronic versions of files, and digital signatures. Initial results of its pilot are highly encouraging.

  

Implementation Partner: Ramendra Verma, Partner, Accenture Services Pvt. Ltd

According to you, what was the most critical success factor for this project?

The most critical success factor for this project has been the commitment and involvement of the State Government in driving this initiative and the speed of decision making. As a Project Director, the unfailing enthusiasm of Secretary IT and the commitment of his team to try out new things and look for innovative solutions for every problem has been one of the most critical success factors for this project.

 

 

Implementation Benefits

Once the implementation was over, quite a few benefits followed. For instance, approx. 1,81,000 online applications were received for govt. scholarship schemes, but due to UID seeding, around 20% applications were rejected as they were found to be duplicates. Multiple applications that had been filed with slight variations in the names were also caught because they ultimately had to provide the same UID number.

As a result of this project, residents started getting banking services right at their door step. New mothers in Janani Suraksha Yojana (JSY) received the scheme benefits right at their hospital beds with the help of Business Correspondents (BC) and deployment of Micro ATMs.Overall, this project resulted in huge savings for the government, amounting to 25% on an average for each scheme. This was all thanks to the elimination of ghost entries due to the UID. This project is expected to be run until all the schemes have been covered. For instance, there are schemes for old age people, dependant widows, differently-abled residents, residents using LPG, and much more. Even after all the schemes have been covered, there would be a need to fine tune the systems, make various changes from time to time, etc.

This project truly reflects the power of UID and how it can benefit the citizens. It has not only provided benefits to the current schemes, but holds very high potential for the future as well. No wonder then that our esteemed jury conferred it with the Best E-Gov Project-Gold Award!

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