We have a fantastic collaboration in progress with the social protection team at Dvara Research, to build case-studies based on a detailed analysis of the challenges faced by people in accessing welfare benefits. A dedicated web-page at Dvara explains the exclusion framework against which we are positioning these case-studies, all of which were identified through voice-reports on Mobile Vaani. These detailed case-studies help tell a story of the struggle that citizens face in dealing with the state to access benefits which they should rightfully get. Many of these issues also arise due to the use of opaque technology systems that do not have well defined processes to deal with failures.
- Exclusion from PM-KISAN due to problems with correcting beneficiary records – almost 1.5 years have passed, several trips were made to different government offices, money paid for services that should have been free, over Rs 1000 spent but benefits foregone are of the order of Rs 10,000.
- Case of banking frauds by agents that resulted in people not being able to avail welfare benefits – a consequence of opaque technology and poor financial literacy, calling for a slower push of digital financial services.
- A PM-KISAN account incorrectly linked to somebody else’s bank account led to three tranches of payments going to the wrong beneficiary. The legitimate beneficiary has now opened a new bank account and is waiting to see if at least the new payments come through.
- Cash transfers announced to welfare board registrants never made their way to many beneficiaries. A general lack of understanding of the expected procedure and ad hoc actions to make transfers in bulk leaves many people excluded from getting the benefits.
- An unexplained problems with getting enrolled under PM-KISAN: With the same set of documents and the same procedure, it failed twice and then succeeded.
- Procedural problems with getting a ration card: Providing documents and paying middlemen was of no benefit until the problem was escalated to higher officials.
- Problems with updating Aadhaar card details: With no explanations about why address update requests were not accepted, this led to further problems with not being able to avail ration and other benefits announced during the COVID-19 lockdown.