Tech in Governance: No need to apply, Karnataka to voluntarily offer social security pension via DBT platform

The revenue department, which hands social security pension to lakhs of families, has worked closely with the e-governance department to create a database of citizens, using the information gathered by field level staff.

Agencies
The government, he added, will launch it on a pilot basis in Ballari and Udupi districts before rolling out statewide.
Bengaluru: Karnataka is moving towards voluntarily offering social security pension to eligible citizens in a significant departure from the age old practice of low-income families applying for the same.

The revenue department, which hands social security pension to lakhs of families, has worked closely with the e-governance department to create a database of citizens, using the information gathered by field level staff. The revenue department will use it to voluntarily offer a pension to eligible persons under an appropriate social security scheme after an in-person authentication using Aadhaar-based digital life certificate.

“We have all the statistics including families with less than four acres of landholding. This will cut out middlemen, and make the entire system transparent. I don’t think any state has done something of this sort before,” revenue minister R Ashoka told ET.


The government, he added, will launch it on a pilot basis in Ballari and Udupi districts before rolling out statewide.

The e-governance department has assigned a family ID to each household which possesses a ration (PDS) card. The ID has captured the income and age profile of households. The revenue department will tap into it on a regular basis to see if any family has slipped below a certain income threshold and deserved a pension.

The government spends about Rs 7500 crore a year on social security pensions to about 68 lakh persons. These pensions cover sections of the society including senior citizens, destitutes, widows, physically challenged and transgenders. The largest segment, however, is that of senior citizens as four out of five pensioners are senior citizens.
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About 50 lakh persons are getting their pension through direct beneficiary transfer (DBT), linked to their Aadhaar number, while 18.5 lakh people are still receiving in the form of electronic money order (EMO). The postal department has already opened SB accounts at post offices for half of them with Aadhaar seeding. In about two months time, the Revenue department will migrate entirely to DBT platform by moving all the EMO accounts to postal SB accounts.

Since early this year, the government has migrated to a more advanced K2 system (Khajane 2 system), or advanced treasury operations with software major TCS providing the technology backbone.

Tens of thousands of eligible persons, dependent on social security pensions, lost out on getting them during the lockdown

when the revenue department staff failed to update their data with Aadhaar and other relevant information. This led to huge crowds of people flocking to taluk offices with copies of Aadhaar card, bank passbook, voter ID, etc.
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At the time, revenue officials said it was humanly impossible for a few revenue inspectors to authenticate the beneficiaries in a city like Bengaluru. Such a situation will not arise once they migrate to the new system, Ashoka said.
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