SECC Data May be Used for Find­ing Right Ben­e­fi­cia­ries

Ru­ral devel­op­ment min­istry likely to move cab­i­net note

The Economic Times - - Economy: Macro, Micro & More - Ruchika.Chi­tra­van­shi @times­group.com

New Delhi: The gov­ern­ment plans to use the So­cio Eco­nomic and Caste Cen­sus 2011 data to iden­tify in­di­vid­ual ben­e­fi­cia­ries for all its schemes to en­sure that benefits meant for the de­prived pop­u­la­tion reach the right peo­ple, a se­nior of­fi­cial said.

A cab­i­net note will be moved soon to start this change, the per­son said.

Presently, only the ru­ral devel­op­ment min­istry and a few de­part­ments use the So­cio Eco­nomic and Caste Cen­sus (SECC) data for their pro­grammes.

The note be­ing pre­pared by the ru­ral devel­op­ment min­istry would sug­gest the use of SECC data for all schemes in­clud­ing the Na­tional Food Se­cu­rity Act and health pro­grammes, the of­fi­cial said. “We will have to come up with a for­mula to see who will qual­ify to get each sub­sidy,” the per­son told ET. “This way, more de­serv­ing will be able to get the benefits of the schemes.”

The move is in line with the rec­om­men­da­tions of a com­mit­tee formed to study va­lid­ity and ef­fi­ciency of the SECC 2011 data in iden­ti­fy­ing the poor.

The panel, headed by for­mer fi­nance sec­re­tary Su­mit Bose, in its re­port spoke in favour of us­ing SECC data for ru­ral devel­op­ment schemes and sug­gested a for­mula to use some of the de­pri­va­tion pa­ram­e­ters to iden­tify the ben­e­fi­cia­ries for spe­cific schemes. Sev­eral schemes such as the Prad­han Mantri Awaas Yo­jana – Gramin, ear­lier known as the Indira Awaas Yo­jana, used the poverty line fig­ures to iden­tify ben­e­fi­cia­ries. The gov­ern­ment made a change through a cab­i­net note last year to use the SECC 2011 data in­stead.

Be­sides the ru­ral devel­op­ment min­istry, some de­part­ments in­clud­ing health and elec­tric­ity have shown in­cli­na­tion to use SECC data in­stead of the poverty line es­ti­mates.

Many states have also ex­pressed in­ter­est in us­ing the data to iden­tify the ac­tual de­prived for their schemes for poor house­holds for schemes such as Prad­han Mantri Ujjwala Yo­jana (PMUY) LPG con­nec­tion scheme.

SECC data pro­vides for au­to­matic ex­clu­sion on the ba­sis of 14 pa­ram­e­ters, au­to­matic in­clu­sion on the ba­sis of five pa­ram­e­ters, and grad­ing of de­pri­va­tion on the ba­sis of seven cri­te­ria.

Ac­cord­ing to SECC data re­leased in July 2015, more than 62% of ru­ral house­holds in the coun­try qual­i­fied as de­prived. Of the to­tal 17.9 crore ru­ral house­holds, 13%, or 2.37 crore house- Govt of­fi­cial holds, still live in houses with only one room with tem­po­rary, makeshift walls and roof.

More than four crore house­holds have no lit­er­ate adult over 25 years of age, while 65 lakh are without any adult mem­ber be­tween age 18 and 59.

In an event that there is a dis­par­ity in the iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of ben­e­fi­cia­ries us­ing the be­low poverty line cer­tifi­cate and the SECC data, the lat­ter is likely to pre­vail since it is more sci­en­tific and tar­geted.

“This way, the more de­serv­ing will be able to get the benefits of the schemes.”

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