Odisha plans social registry to weed out ghost beneficiaries using Aadhaar

The state government plans to use Aadhaar data and bank account details to weed out ineligible beneficiaries of welfare schemes.
Odisha has several welfare schemes run by the government which consume a big portion of its budget.(PTI Photo)
Odisha has several welfare schemes run by the government which consume a big portion of its budget.(PTI Photo)
Updated on Sep 18, 2020 02:06 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, Bhubaneswar | ByDebabrata Mohanty | Edited by Abhinav Sahay

Odisha plans to launch its social protection delivery platform or social registry by the beginning of next fiscal enabling the government to monitor the well-being of beneficiaries of several state and central welfare schemes while weeding out ineligible claimants.

Officials said work on the creation of a social registry had begun with the beneficiaries listed in the database of Krushak assistance for livelihood and income augmentation (Kalia) being taken as the base for the proposed database.

The Kalia scheme, one of the several state schemes and started in Janauary 2019, helps more than 51 lakh small, marginal and landless farmers receive Rs 5000 each twice a year as farm assistance for purchase of inputs like seeds, fertilisers, pesticides, labour charges per agriculture season.

State finance secretary AKK Meena, nodal officer for the social registry, said through processes like Aadhaar authentication and bank account verification, the beneficiary database of each of the departments can be cleaned up for weeding out ineligible people.

“As different departments have created databases for different schemes without authentication and data sanitisation, the social registry would ensure that each of the eligible beneficiaries is properly identified. It would weed out ineligible beneficiaries from various schemes. The social registry would be a super database in which databases of all departments would be integrated. We expect the social registry to be ready by the end of March next year,” said Meena.

Odisha runs around 60 social assistance programmes that account for a large share of its annual GDP. Programmes like Kalia, Madhubabu pension yojana, Mamata scheme, Biju pucca ghar yojana, Biju krushak kalyan yojana, Mukhyamantri swasthya seva mission, Barishtha nagarika tirtha yatra yojana and Kalinga shiksha sathi yojana, cover almost 70 per cent of the total 4.2 crore people of the State.

Though the social welfare schemes have ensured BJD’s victory in successive elections since 2000, the schemes have also bled the state treasury as there have been allegations of ineligible and dead beneficiaries crowding the list. A month ago, Odisha had made Aadhaar verification of beneficiaries of National social assistance programme and Madhu babu pension yojana as mandatory to get the monthly pension. Though it temporarily backed down from its decision at the last moment following protests from activists, the SSEPD department wants to follow through the process. Similarly, at least 50,000 people from the 51 lakh beneficiaries of Kalia scheme too, were found to be ineligible and asked to return the assistance money.

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Officials said the existing databases of national food security act, Kalia, birth & death, MGNREGA, mission shakti, old age pension, disability pension, scholarship, skill development would be sanitised through local government directory mapping.

Officials involved with the process said the agriculture and farmers’ empowerment department which is preparing a farmers’ database for social registry has devised an anomaly detection algorithm to detect any fraud or data anomaly such as during buying seeds for paddy, selling oilseeds.

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A detailed SOP with a 3-tier verification has been created that would ensure collection of farmers’ number, their gender, marital status, mobile number, residential address and bank account details for Aadhaar authentication, LGD mapping, bank account verification and Aadhaar lookup with national payment corporation of India. While creating the social registry the government is taking due care of data privacy, officials added.

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