R Swaminathan

NIXI and ORF fellow

Govt must look at people as customers

India spends `4 lakh crore on social welfare schemes every year which is 36 percent of the budget and seven percent of the GDP. While India deserves some appreciation for this, the spending it does on social welfare is quite less than the spending of other developed countries such as Germany and France which spend 25 percent and 27 percent of their budgets, respectively.

According to a planning commission study, in 2006 there were 73 percent leakages in India in the budget allotted for welfare schemes while in countries like Germany the leakage is less than even one percent. What are the causes of these leakages is the foundation of my ideas.
To counter leakage we have to change the way we provide social welfare. We have to move from the e-governance model to a service delivery model. While e-governance is more hardware than people, a service delivery model will make the end beneficiary the focal point of attention.

The government has to start looking at people as customers. The approach should shift from the beneficiary-centric  to customer-centric.

There has to be a clear-cut demarcation between real and functional literacy when providing service to people using ICT. There is a small remote village in UP known as Maswasi (an urban panchayat in Rampur district) where the penetration of feature-rich mobiles is very high. Functional literacy is the ability to adapt technology which the villagers have and now transfer songs via Bluetooth to each other despite of being completely illiterate.
The government departments should stop working in silos and should be more connected.  If there is no central point of delivery of services then there will be a problem.


Other Speakers

  • R Swaminathan
  • Vivek Srivastava
  • Himanshu Mehta
  • Rama Hariharan
  • DC Misra
  • Jaijit Bhattacharya
  • Sandeep Ahlawat

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