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Govt to use SECC data for identification of beneficiaries

Expert panel submitted its report to the Rural Development Minister and the Ministry accepted interim advice on identifying pro-poor beneficiaries
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An Expert Group, headed by former Finance Secretary Sumit Bose, to study the criteria for allocation of resources to States and identification and prioritization of beneficiaries under various programme using Socio Economic and Caste Census (SECC) data, submitted its report to Rural Development Minister Narendra Singh Tomar.

The Government mounted the SECC with the purpose of ranking households for receiving benefits under government programmes. The Socio Economic and Caste Census has been concluded. The Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD) has decided to use SECC data for identification of beneficiaries and for generating priority list of beneficiaries under its programmes.

“The Expert Group during its interim discussion with MoRD had given a road map on selection of beneficiaries as well as criteria for allocation of resources to the states for Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana- Gramin (PMAY-G),” the Ministry release said.

“The Expert Group’s interim advice has been accepted by the Ministry and accordingly appropriate guidelines have been issued to make inter –state allocation based on SECC data to cover households under Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana (PMAG) and Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana - National Rural Livelihood Mission (DAY-NRLM),” it further said.

The Expert Group has concluded that the use of SECC data and Temporary Identification Number(TIN) would enable the government to improve the efficacy of its interventions and will result in improved outcome. However, the Expert Group has observed that regular updation and verification of SECC data is prerequisite to eliminate the need to mount standalone SECC in the long run, which would put additional burden on public resources.

The SECC has the potential to move from being only a census-like socio-economic database to becoming the core of a functioning Social Registry Information System (SRIS). SRIS would result in several advantages in implementation of social sector schemes. It has the potential to streamline programme administration, reduce duplication of benefit and fraud, saving on time and costs for both programme applicants and services providers, monitoring the living standards of beneficiaries over time, better targeting of vulnerable and marginalized sections of the society and enable expansion of the coverage of the programmes. Finally, the use of SECC data would lead to better budgetary planning and allocation of resources for various programmes. 

The SECC is a paperless census, wherein the enumeration of data was done using over 6.4 lakh electronic hand-held devices. Household data was taken from the National Population Register along with the TIN.

The other members of the expert group are Amarjeet Sinha, Secretary, Rural Development Ministry; Mahendra Dev, Director, Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research, Mumbai; Rinku Murgai, Economist, World Bank; Himanshu, Associate Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University; and Manoranjan Kumar from the RD Ministry. 

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