Social Startups Help Fill in the Blanks in Govt Schemes
Cos help citizens gain awareness and get access to various govt programmes they are entitled to
Ahmedabad: All government budgets slot in schemes that promise to improve the lives of millions, but very few of the intended beneficiaries ever fully understand what they are entitled to. That information gap makes for a huge business opportunity.
A growing tribe of social enterprises that includes the likes of HaqDarshak, The Indian Iris and Schemopedia is enabling thousands of citizens gain awareness of and get access to various government programmes.
Essentially, these enablers help get rid of unauthorised intermediaries from India’s vast benefits system by directly equipping beneficiaries — poor rural and urban families, farmers and even small traders — to apply for entitlements.
This could be something as simple as helping a person apply for an Aadhaar number, the biometricbased digital identity that’s becoming crucial for anyone seeking to avail government-provided benefits. Janabai, a resident of a slum in Pune, said she got her Aadhaar card without a glitch thanks to HaqDarshak.
As an independent worker for the company, since then, she has been guiding several others in applying for government schemes.
“For people like us who are usually dependent on daily wages and have extra family responsibilities, such platforms are useful in helping us avail benefits provided by both the government as well as pri- vate companies,” she said. HaqDarshak has covered nearly 20,000 families and helped more than 500 families successfully apply for a number of government programmes, which include scholarships, loans, labor cards and zerobalance bank accounts. The company generated revenue of about ₹ 4 lakh over the last five months in the business-to-customer segment after field operations started. In the business-to-business segment, it earned about ₹ 50 lakh in the same period through commissions as well as contracts signed with companies and trusts to digitise their schemes that are then delivered to beneficiaries through HaqDarshak’s network of independent workers. “The power of collective groundup action is critical for a service to work in a community to ensure that the delivery of entitlements is provided in time to the most needy,” said Aniket Doegar, CEO of HaqDarshak. The company, which is backed by PR Ganapaty, the India president of social enterprise incubator Villgro, plans to shortly launch an Android app providing information on more than 1,500 schemes and services.
The Indian Iris, which began operations in June 2015, has at least 60,000 users accessing its website every month for information on government schemes and programmes.
These enablers help get rid of unauthorised intermediaries from India’s vast benefits system