Tamil Nadu

In Tamil Nadu, rationalising distribution of welfare schemes based on data

The State is keen on ensuring that only eligible persons benefit from schemes, says an official. File

The State is keen on ensuring that only eligible persons benefit from schemes, says an official. File

A few weeks ago, certain sections of political parties and farmers’ bodies raised their eyebrows when the Registrar of Co-operative Societies, in a communication, stated that 35.37 lakh loans against jewellery, out of about 48.85 lakh loans, would not qualify for the loan waiver scheme.

As for Social Security Pension Schemes which cover destitute senior citizens, differently-abled persons, widows and agricultural labourers, the authorities found that 8,800 beneficiaries were not alive.

Data purity project

The two illustrations form part of the steps taken by the State government under the data purity project.

“The purpose is to achieve the right targeting of numerous welfare schemes, as the government is keen on ensuring that only the needy and eligible persons should be brought under the fold of welfare schemes. The project operates on the principle of having a data-driven and evidence-based decision support system,” said a senior official.

In respect of the jewellery loan waiver scheme, the identification of beneficiaries was preceded by a host of stipulations and guidelines issued by the Cooperation, Food and Consumer Protection Department in November.

Similarly, the Social Security Pension Schemes have been governed by several government orders. The official said that a close scrutiny of the data on jewellery loan borrowers revealed that there were a number of persons who had taken the loans under different names despite belonging to same families or had availed themselves of the loans even in different districts. Such borrowers were declared ineligible, given the main condition of the waiver scheme of covering each family which had pledged the jewellery of up to five sovereigns.

While making use of the government’s conventional way of working, the authorities, through the data purity project, gather more information about beneficiaries of the schemes. In September, the Information Technology Department asked all government departments to share their data with the Tamil Nadu e-Governance Agency (TNeGA), whose role would be to process the data and issue mandatory directions on standards for data to the departments.

Observing that the project can yield enhanced revenue to the exchequer, the official points out that a preliminary look at data from different departments, agencies and service providers, such as Greater Chennai Corporation and Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation, brings to the fore the fact that for the purpose of utilising 100 free units bi-monthly, multiple domestic connections had been taken in one address. Likewise, properties, regarded as residential for the purpose of levy of property tax, are being used for running commercial establishments. This had been done to avoid paying higher property tax.

The project also seeks to prevent the government departments and agencies from functioning like silos and become interoperable entities, the official adds.

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Printable version | May 27, 2022 9:53:10 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/in-tamil-nadu-rationalising-distribution-of-welfare-schemes-based-on-data/article38275963.ece