DailyPost 2780

The democracy of India has finally been transformed to what we can safely term as freebie democracy. It comes somewhere between removing poverty and ration card regime and election manifesto / promises of current decade. The western concept of social security and practice belongs to a different world. Freebies have remained an integral part of our democratic life since ages and even with best of the efforts it is not going away anytime soon. The freebies have widened in scope and can cover from ration to electricity to water, employment and financial support for a variety of purposes. The direct benefit transfer has added a new dimension to it. In simple terms it is direct transfer of cash.

Freebies are now called guarantees and elections are fought and won on it. The more the freebies, the better placed you are to win the elections. Guarantees have become election manifestoes now. Leave aside parties even individual guarantees are fine. The direct benefit transfer is at the core of the freebie democracy regime and ecosystem, which seems to have gained permanence in our democratic ecosystem. In simple terms on the one side, you have revenue of the government and on the other side there is expenditure. Mediating it, is the huge monumental bureaucracy handling it. They are the processors.

Whatever might be the magnitude, which platform based digital transaction systems can handle comfortably at any scale, as it can be brought down to a mere software. The humungous governmental machinery involved in this task can very well be dispensed with. What we need is a National Freebies Software, it would have the capability to manage any freebie transfer, thus making the whole system seamless. All transactions today also go through some software, APIs integration and payment gateways. Delivery of lots of government services in Estonia functioning on the mixture of decentralised and centralised tech architectures, happen seamlessly.

Well-designed and developed software of an ERP type on a robust national digital platform can do wonders to the freebie regime which all governments are wedded to. From eligibility to transactions to delays and the impact thereof, can all be tracked. AI can give any number of patterns and connects for an individual, to communities to programs to governments. The App front face can do wonders. It would a magic tool for the beneficiary. A static nascent part can be seen in the Digilocker, though the tech complexity and being real time and dynamic would make it radically different, providing the real ease of life to the people. Non-cash transfer benefits can also be added as a module to the software to provide comprehensiveness to the diehard commitment to improve the quality of life of the masses.

Sanjay Sahay

Have a nice evening.

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