July 5, 2012 -
The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Scheme is currently attempting to redress issues such as delay in payments to beneficiaries and lack of transparency.
The first issue, which is the delay of payments to beneficiaries, might be addressed by biometrics. Aadhaar (a 12 digit individual identification number issued by the Unique Identification Authority of India on behalf of the Government of India, including biometric information) is one method of payment that is currently being explored. Currently, payments of wages and distribution of payments are being channeled through banks and post office accounts.
The second issue, which is a lack of transparency, might be addressed through the use of a Management Information System (MIS) that has been adapted to help track total expenditures in the program. Every little detail pertinent to the program such as information about the beneficiaries, work and project materials are being entered into the MIS.
Another way to further improve the transparency in the scheme is through the implementation of information and communication technology (ICT) that allows end-to-end monitoring of movement from the capture of attendance, preparation of muster rolls and the disbursement of wage payments. This real time data capture on the MIS can then provide granular information from specific blocks and districts, even all the way up to the state level.
Other types of biometrics-based approaches have been used before, but so far, Aadhaar has the potential to be far more superior in terms of usability and reliability. The ease of use between banks and business is one big factor, along with the uniformity of biometric standards across India.
Will integration with Aadhaar improve the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Scheme?