Delivery Wise: Universal national social profile will help cut inclusion-exclusion errors & improve efficiency

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December 11, 2020 5:40 AM

While states like Rajasthan have already mounted similar efforts—Bhamashah Yojana is designed to address inclusion and exclusion errors—such a plan has been missing at the central level.

The process of one nation, one ration card had started before the pandemic, but now the project is on in full swing. (Representational image: IE)

Learning from the blow Covid-19 dealt to delivery of basic services to citizens, the government has been moving fast to ensure that gaps in the Public Distribution System are plugged. The process of one nation, one ration card had started before the pandemic, but now the project is on in full swing. Similarly, the government has started enumerating vulnerable households that have people with co-morbidities so that it can fast-track its medical response. Now, a group of ministers (GoM) report is suggesting a further overhaul. As per news reports, the GoM has recommended that the government incorporate a universal national social profile to track individual and family benefits. The report calls for the creation of a geo-tagged, real-time, multi-dimensional database that shall incorporate different services.

While states like Rajasthan have already mounted similar efforts—Bhamashah Yojana is designed to address inclusion and exclusion errors—such a plan has been missing at the central level. If the central government brings out such a scheme, it would be able to eliminate the need to carry separate identity cards. A MicroSave study from Rajasthan had found that respondents saw the requirement to carry different ID card for various services as a burden. Moreover, information for 42% of households was not verified. So, a single-profile for services should get adopted easily. The Centre will have to sort out kinks like verification if the universal national social profile scheme is to be successful. Another aspect that the government will need to address is data security. Storing all information in a single database would mean the government would have to ramp up its security services.

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