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Q. Role of technology in governance: Discuss the role of technology in preventing corruption in welfare schemes.
Jun 03, 2016 Related to : GS Paper-2 and 3

Ans :

In news- 

Recently Prime Minister called for elimination of middlemen in the process of delivery of welfare schemes through use of information and technology.

Introduction-

Information and communication technology has been played key role in improving the functioning of the government throughout the world. It played pivotal role in enhancing the public service delivery system by improving its efficiency, accountability, and transparency, and reducing bribery.

Issues in welfare scheme delivery-

  • India spends huge amounts of money every year on social welfare programmes, but most of this does not reaches to rightful beneficiaries due rampant corruption in the system.

  • Social welfare schemes in India always dictated by middlemen, who have exploited various loopholes of the system and benefited from it.

  • Due to flawed approach in public service delivery, ghost beneficiaries enjoyed the benefits of welfare schemes and those were denied to rightful and deserving beneficiaries.

  • The system of delivering welfare schemes such as food grains, kerosene etc at highly discounted price has provided incentives for large scale pilferage.

How technology solves these issues?

  • Technology plays key role in eliminating corruption and to cut out the middlemen for social welfare schemes. Use information and technology improve governance and enhance government capacity to serve public welfare schemes more effectively.

  • With ICT, government can build back-end system efficient with widespread computerization and can reach out citizens directly and seamlessly.

  • It will automate the process, cut out the role of middlemen, reduce the dependency on bureaucracy and also eliminates the information gap between the government and public.

  • Already government is using ICT on various fronts and it has demonstrated its impact.  For example direct benefits transfer has managed to weed out 3.5 crore bogus beneficiaries saving over Rs 21,000 crore under the LPG Pahal scheme.

  • Similarly use of Aadhaar in Public Distribution System (PDS) by states like Delhi, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Puducherry has saved about 10,000 crore rupees.

Suggestion-

The drive to loosen the hold of middlemen needs to extend to other areas of governance. For example large chunk of small farmers are in the grip of middlemen linked to agricultural markets. Eliminating the monopoly of agricultural market on sale of farm produce will introduce competition and help farmers get a better deal.

Conclusion-

Overall, the role of technology in governance is crucial for developing country like India. It will definitely improve not only the productivity of services, but also better use of scarce tax money and government resources. With this the objective of social welfare schemes can be realised in its true spirit.


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