Mains Paper 2: Governance | Government policies & interventions for development in various sectors & issues arising out of their design & implementation.
From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:
Prelims level: NFSA, MGNREGA
Mains level: Inefficiencies in PDS as well as Aadhar ecosystem and how to remove them
- The Aadhaar ecosystem definitely needs to pass a stringent welfare test much more crucially than the privacy test
Aadhar leading to exclusions in PDS system
- There have been reports of widespread exclusion and disruption that Aadhaar may be causing in welfare schemes
- It is imperative to ensure that nobody who needs welfare is ever denied
- The rights derived from the NFSA and MGNREGA are unconditional
What is required now?
- Immediately requirement is a thorough analysis of the denials in PDS
- What is the exclusion rate due to targeting errors independent of Aadhaar and how many are excluded only due to Aadhaar?
- What is the biometric failure rate across the population, sorted according to age, gender, occupation, and region?
- Are the failures inherent to the technology or are they avoidable process errors?
Effective design of digital identity in PDS
Elements of such a design must be based on
- an offline identity verification system with opportunistic uploading of cached records
- an error-free linking process
- deployment of tamper-proof digital weighing machines
- end-to-end recording at the supply chain and at the ration shops
- effective online receipt systems and online audits
- user education and a quick and effective grievance redress system
How would this work?
- The offline identity verification may simply be based on digital reading of an encrypted and digitally signed photograph of the beneficiary encoded on the ration card
- This will be followed by physical comparison and storing for records along with a time-stamped photograph acquired on the spot with a tamper-proof device