District Administration, Dhanbad

The Problem

National Social Assistance Program (NSAP) is the largest centrally sponsored social security scheme meant for the welfare of needy and poorest of the poor beneficiaries who are Old Aged (above 60), Widows, Lepers, physical disabled selected from BPL families and also belong to very low-income group from non-BPL families.

There are several individual based NSAP programmes run by the Central and State Government having large number of beneficiaries. These are: -
-Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme.
-State Old Age Pension Scheme.
-Swami Vivekanand Nihshakt Swablamban Yojana.
-Indira Ganchi National Widow Pension Scheme.
-Indira Gandhi National Handicapped Pension Scheme.

Under this program, monthly pension minimum of Rs. 400.00 is paid to the pensioner. In India. There are more than 15 million beneficiaries in India to whom the over Rs.7,500 Crores is disbursed every year whereas in Jharkhand State approximately Rs. 480 Crores is disbursed every year to 10 lakhs beneficiaries.

NSAP Objective:-

-Payment of monthly social security pension before 7th of every month (as per order passed by the Hon'ble Supreme Court of India.

-New sanction of pension to the eligible beneficiary.

The main problem was existing process of disbursement. Also process of sanction of new beneficiary was very cumbersome, tedious, involved lot of paper work, inefficient, non transparent and above all reliability of the information was questionable.
Thus, a pensioner had to wait days, weeks or months and sometimes had to pay bribes to get entitlements was major issue before administration. Also timely and monthly disbursement of money to such a large number of beneficiaries was a daunting task. Existing trend of pension disbursement was to allocate fund to district from state and further sub-allocation to the block development officers (BDO), who used to prepare bill,draw amount from treasury. BDOs further used to direct Panchayat Secretary to prepare pensioners’ acquaintance role/payment advice for cash/ payment through Bank/Post Office as the case may be as all beneficiaries did not had their bank/post office account opened. Based on acquaintance role/payment advice BDO used to issue cheques to the Panchayat Secretary, who in turn used to hold camps to disburse cash amount or send cheques to the respective Bank/ Post Office to beneficiaries.
It used to take about 3 months to complete one cycle therefore, disbursement of monthly pension was not done on monthly basis violating the order passed by the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India. Disbursement happended approximately in every six months. For this the beneficiaries had to run from pillar to post to know the date of camp, disbursal of amount etc. Not only the payment was irregular and uncertain but it also violated the government norms of monthly disbursement of pension.
Moreover, in absence of vacancies new sanction of pension was unlikely to be processed. The process involved physical verification, document verification and proper flow of documents from Panchayat Secretary to the sanctioning authority. In view of the complexities involved in the process new sanction was hardly done without the personal intervention of the District Head.
In the backdrop of above, need for systemic change of Direct Cash Transfer(DCT) of monthly pension in the account of the pensioners was called for to ameliorate the hardship of senior citizens.With this view project of “Old Age Pensioner’s Payment and Monitoring System (SWAVALAMBAN)” was conceived, developed and implemented. This is the first project in India pertaining to direct cash transfer of amount in the account of beneficiary in a most efficient, transparent and accountable manner.

Solution and Key Benefits

 What is the initiative about? (the solution)
Firstly, Main achievement of the initiative is direct cash transfer (DCT) of amount in the account of the pensioners before 7th of every month. For this purpose account of all the pensioners were opened either in Bank or local post office. The database of all pensioners with all details such as IFS code of bank, account number etc were digitized with the help of newly developed software. Online advice is generated and advice is sent the treasury & Treasury Bank. The treasury bank now transfers the cash to the account of the pensioners.

Earlier the pensioner used to get the pension amount in every six months but now they get before 7th every month. The time of processing reduced from 2-3 months to 2-3 days. Earlier pensioners used to crowd the government block and district offices for information regarding cash disbursement of pension amount but now they can go to the nearest bank/post office to withdraw money.

Secondly, The opening of personal account in Bank/Post Office in the proximity of the beneficiary cuts down the cost and time in getting pension amount. Payment through Business Correspondent using POS machines with Aadhar integration in remote rural areas has dramatically improved the delivery of services.

DCT in the account of the pensioners has also increased the saving tendency among the pensioners. Earlier they used to get money in every 6 months and they used spend it on urgent basis. However now they withdraw the amount as per their requirement thus saving the rest amount. They now also get interest on the saved amount. The saving tendency and the amount in their account have also enhanced the self esteem of the pensioner.

Thirdly, Online filling application for new sanction has reduced the time for submission of application at the appropriate level. The process of sanction of application got expedited through close monitoring at the highest level.

Fourthly, The Citizen service such as know your payment status provides vast information regarding the details of pensioners and the payment made. Which otherwise the pensioners used to fetch from government officials and for this they had cover long distance to reach to the government officials several times.

Fifthly, Provision for automatic entry of State Old Age Pensioners into NSAP is there so that as soon as any person of BPL family enters age of 60 years and becomes eligible for NSAP. Thus time in sanction gets negligible and also cuts cost involved in the process of sanction of new pension under NSAP.

Sixthly, the exit System: As soon as the death details based on death certificate of pensioner are entered into database, its payment gets stopped and the details are saved in a separate database for future requirement.

Actors and Stakeholders

 Who proposed the solution, who implemented it and who were the stakeholders?
District administration team under the chairmanship of then Deputy Commissioner, Shri Ajoy Kumar Singh, IAS proposed the solution. It was discussed with the department of labour & employment. The implementation strategy was prepared with the help of Treasury Officer, Assistant Director (Social Security), Sub Divisional Officer, Lead Bank Manager and District Informatics Officer, NIC District Unit, Dhanbad.

The project was implemented by the district administration. The key members of the team who implemented the initiative are Shri Ajoy Kumar Singh, IAS, the then Deputy Commissioner of Dhanbad, Shri M.N. Singh, District Informatics Officer, NIC, Dhanbad, Sri Ambrish Kumar, Computer progmmer, Lead Bank Manager, Sub Divisional officer, Assistant Director, Social Security, Treasury Officer, Deputy General Manager of post office, Branch Manager of SBI
Treasury Branch.

The stakeholders of the initiative are Department of Rural Development, government of India, Department of labour & Employment, government of Jharkhand, District administration, Deputy Commissioner, Sub Divisional Officer, Assistant Director, Social Security, all banks & post offices, treasury, all block development officers, Auditor general office, all Panchayats, Common Service Centre, pensioners and above all citizens.

(a) Strategies

 Describe how and when the initiative was implemented by answering these questions
 a.      What were the strategies used to implement the initiative? In no more than 500 words, provide a summary of the main objectives and strategies of the initiative, how they were established and by whom.
Objectives :

The main objective behind the implementation of this project was to develop system of direct cash transfer of monthly pension amount to the account of the pensioners before 7th of every month. Second main objective was to check leakages in the system by the way of creating digital data base and direct cash transfer of monthly pension amount in the bank or post office accounts of the pensioner. The digitalization of the database removed duplicate and fake entries. This also created authentic information for the purpose of sanction of new pension, database for MIS, report in various formats for monitoring & supervision and citizen interface. Third Main objective was to use MIS and citizen interface for e-filing of application for new sanction of pension. Thus MIS coupled with e-filing eased out the problem of new sanction of pension. Fourth main objective was to remove intermediaries from the system and to inculcate saving tendency among pensioners.
In order to achieve above stated objective strategy was devised by a committee headed by Shri Ajoy Kumar Singh, the then Deputy Commissioner, Dhanbad. The basic strategy was to establish simple, accountable and transparent system for direct cash transfer of monthly pension and sanction of new pension. Old process had 12 layers which were examined and it was decided that it can be reduced to 6 layers. Thus first strategy was to cut 6 layers and to reengineer processes. Secondly in order to achieve the objective of direct cash transfer of monthly pension accounts of all pensioners were to be opened. Thirdly it was decided to use latest facilities offered by the banks for cash transfers such as Real time gross settlement, NEFT etc. Fourth strategy was to create digital database to remove duplication from the system. Fifth and the most important were to develop software for online pension payment and sanction of new pension namely “OLD AGE PENSION PAYMENT AND MONITORING SYSTEM (SWAVALAMBAN)”. Sixthly to bring all stakeholders on the common table for smooth implementation of the initiative.
The project was initiated under the guidance of then Development Commissioner, Jharkhand state Ranchi, and Principal Secretary, Labour and Employment, government of Jharkhand. Since the project was conceived and designed by Shri Ajoy Kumar Singh, the then Deputy Commissioner of Dhanbad hence it was decided to implement this initiative in Dhanbad. A task force was constituted in the chairmanship of the Deputy Commissioner, Dhanbad and having members from all stakeholders like Department of Labour Employment and training, government of Jharkhand, Assistant Director (Social Security),Sub Divisional Officer, Treasury officer, Lead Bank Manger, treasury bank, Deputy General Manager of Postal department, Block development officers of block. The task force decided at strategies and also process of implementation of the strategy within a fixed time frame. Several rounds of meeting of all stakeholders were held to oversee the progress of the initiative.

(b) Implementation

 b.      What were the key development and implementation steps and the chronology? No more than 500 words
This initiative was initiated in the second quarter of financial year 2008-09. As a first step idea was conceived by the district administration. A task force was constituted at the district level and the task force deliberated on the project design, strategy, implementation steps and the timeline of the project implementation.

As a second step entire project was broken into number of tasks. Each task was assigned to the particular institution responsible for it and was scheduled for second quarter of the fin-year 2008-09.

• As a part of the strategy it was decided to directly transfer the cash amount to the pensioner’s account therefore opening of bank/post-office account was a pre-condition for the success of the initiative. It was started in the second quarter of the financial year and it took 6 months to complete the task.
• Development of Web based software namely SWAVALAMBAN (Old Age Pensioner’s Payment & Monitoring System) was mandatory for the initiative. Development of software took about six months time. The software has provisions to online entry of pensioner’s details, query modules, online advice generation, online submission of application form etc. and was ready for testing in the third quarter of the fin-year.

• After the development of software the mapping of pensioner’s details and their account numbers were done manually. After mapping complete information was digitized with the help of the ready software. It got completed in the beginning of the financial year 2009-10.

• After completion of above mentioned tasks the government processes were re-engineered with respect to fund sub-allocation, direct cash transfer in pensioners account, advice generation etc. The sub-allotment of fund to the block was done away with and new system of direct cash transfer to the pensioners account from the district level was introduced for the first time in the history of the scheme. Government order was issued for the new process. It took about 3 months time. Final government order was issued in the second quarter of the fin-year 2009-10.
• In the new process, Bank/ Post Office wise advice is generated online based on the latest pensioners data. And based on advice one consolidated Bill is prepared by the Assistant Director of Social Security at the district level for all the pensioners of the district. The bill is then presented to the treasury, which is sent to the treasury bank branch through electronic means. Thereafter the treasury branch transfers the fund to the parking accounts of the nodal Branch/ Head Post Office through RTGS. The Banks/ Branches, which are on core banking system (CBS) transfer pension amount directly to the pensioners’ account. In other case nodal Bank Branch/Head Post Office sends credit note with softcopy of advice note to the respective Branch/ Post Office. In new system the amount is transferred to the pensioners’ account in only one day in case of CBS branch and in 2-7 days in case of non- CBS banks/post office.

• Workshop and training programme were organized for Social Security Staff, Block development officers, Panchayat Sewaks and all other stakeholders for direct cash transfer of monthly pension. It took about one month.

• The project was implemented from the second quarter of the financial year 2009-10 for the district of Dhanbad. After that the department of Labour and Employment, government of Jharkhand issued government order for rollout of the project in other districts of the state.

• There were certain additionalities which were added later on with the advancement of the technology. The first was to make payment with the use of biometric card in certain cases by Business Correspondent of the bank. Secondly, mobile phone nos. of beneficiary or his kith and kin was collected and transaction based SMS is sent.

(c) Overcoming Obstacles

 c.      What were the main obstacles encountered? How were they overcome? No more than 500 words
The project of this size involves many stakeholders like government officials, bankers, Post Office and beneficiaries. Therefore, the development and implementation of the project was very challenging.
The first obstacle was to open bank/post office account of more than 40,000 pensioners. However, all banks and post offices were clearly directed to open the accounts of the pensioners within fixed time frame. Special camps of all the pensioners’, bank and post office employers and government officials were held under the direct supervision of the district administration.
The second obstacle was to develop software for the project namely “Old age pensioner’s payment & monitoring system” SWAW LAMBAN. A dedicated team was constituted in the chairmanship of Shri M. N. Singh, District Informatics Officer of NIC, Dhanbad. The team worked under the overall technical guidance of State Informatics Officer, Ranchi for about six months.
The third obstacle was the mapping of pensioner’s details and the bank/post office account and their digitalization and de-duplication. The process of digitization and authentication of database was very cumbersome due to lack of proper record keeping in the government offices. However, several rounds of meeting and training were held to sort out the problem. All block and panchayat level functionaries were assigned this herculean task. With much effort of everyone the mapping and digitization works were completed.
The fourth obstacle was to the change 20 years old archaic process of pension payment. This was overcome with training, workshops and consultation with all stakeholders.
The fifth obstacle was lack of ICT skills among the government staff and officers. The training programme and workshops were organized at the district level to train the staff and officers associated with the project. ICT facilities were given to all offices connected with the project.
Sixthly new model of Business Correspondent was introduced for the first time for value doorstep delivery of cash to the pensioners. For this purpose banks were encouraged to engage Business Correspondent and to train them.

(d) Use of Resources

 d.      What resources were used for the initiative and what were its key benefits? In no more than 500 words, specify what were the financial, technical and human resources’ costs associated with this initiative. Describe how resources were mobilized
The human resources available in the district i.e Departmental officers and employees of offices of District administration, Assistant Director (Social Security), Sub Divisional Officer, Block Development Officer, Panchayat Secretariats, Government Treasury, Lead Bank, Post offices, Common Service Centres (CSC) were used for the initiative. They proved to be a major resource for the initiative because of their domain knowledge and acquaintances with the difficulties in the legacy system.

National Informatics Centre, District Unit, Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, Govt. of India has a key role in designing, development and implementation of e-governance projects in the district. Internal human and technical resources of NIC have fully been used for successful design, development and implementation of the project.

For generation of database of Bank Master, User Master, District Master, Block Master, Panchayat Master and village master, digitization of pensioner master, verification of check list, services of block level officers and staff of Panchayat Secretariats were taken to ensure the completion of the project within the timeline.

Although, there was/ has been no direct cost involved in the initiative but the hidden cost in maintaining the data centers and internal resources may not be ruled out. The hidden recurring costs in maintenance of Data Centers and internal resources are inherited in National e-governance Plan.

Sustainability and Transferability

  Is the initiative sustainable and transferable?
Project is sustainable and scalable. Initially project was taken up in Dhanbad district in the financial year 2009-10. The complete project has been developed with help of manpower and resources available at the local level. The projected is hosted at the NIC data center at Ranchi. They are being maintained by NIC. Therefore, the maintenance, updation & improvement, scalability is taken care of by the local resource persons. Moreover no new system or other resources are required for this project. The government/ Bank/ PO employees have been trained and they are happy with the new system. Therefore, the project is financially & economically sustainable.
The project is also socially, culturally and environmentally sustainable. In fact all citizens and pensioners are comfortable and happy with the imitative. They now receives their monthly pension in bank/Post office account without any delay The project has almost no paperwork thus making it environmentally more sustainable.
The project is fully scalable and it has been done at the district level. It doesn't require additional manpower or resources to scale it up. Moreover, there is even more scope and the need to develop this kind of system by other districts and state. Government of Jharkhand has already adopted this system and directed to all district to implement this system. Furthermore NIC, Delhi has also adopted the concept and arranged a application software platform to roll out the same in the entire country.

The project of direct cash transfer of amount in the account of the beneficiaries has become the latest buzzword in India.

Lessons Learned

 What are the impact of your initiative and the lessons learned?
Being the first project related to DCT of pension in the account of the beneficiary in India. It is an eye opener for everyone.

Every stakeholder is happy with the new system. Pensioners are happy because they are getting their timely pension through Bank/Post Office. In addition to this they are also getting interest on the amount and timely information through CSC/Website. The moment the new system was put in place and data got authenticated surprisingly the number of pensioners decreased by 20% due to duplicity, bogus entry, deaths etc. But also created 20%vacancy for new eligible beneficiaries in the scheme. This was an eye opener for all of us. The simplicity in the system has removed the burden from Panchayat Secretaries, BDO and other staffs because disbursal camps and lot of paper work got eliminated. Bankers are happy because now they are getting data in the digital form and there is no need to make drafts or clear cheques etc. Recognizing the benefits of the project,Government of Jharkhand adopted it at the state level and directed all the districts to replicate it. NIC extend the support for roll out in the entire state so that the benefits of the project flows to more than 10 lakhs pbeneficiaries. NIC Delhi headquarter also recognized the project and has sent messages to all District NIC Officials to replicate it. If it happens, 1.5 crore poor people will have smile on their face when they receive pension money at their doorstep without any hassle. After all poor senior citizen deserves to live life with dignity and there is a way of doing it.
Pensioners having wonderful experiences are getting their monthly pension in time and at the doorstep(using biometric card). Some are also getting SMS alerts. Now they don’t have to visit Panchayat secretariat, Block offices for getting any information about the payment. They also developed saving tendencies withdrawing money only at the time of requirement and also interest on balance being paid by bankers.
Banks are able to channelize their manpower used for this to other jobs. Cash withdrawal has been spread over the entire month as a result cash management becomes easy. This has also increased the cash retention in bank.
The project has drastically reduced the workload of Panchayat and Block. Now they are using their energy to other job and in expediting the timely sanction of pension to the new beneficiary. The process of preparation and sending of Detailed Contingency bill is not required. Moreover, treasury and block staffs are not overloaded with bills pertaining to pension. Above all monitoring at district and government level is a mouse click away.
This is the best example of how implementation of the project is important and how ICT and banking solutions can be leveraged to ease out the implementation problem. This is being implemented in the entire state of Jharkhand by the government. It may be further scaled to all India level.
Moreover Unique Identification (UID) will add a new dimension in the process of growth. UID coupled with ICT will revolutionalize the delivery process and expedite the pace of development. Firstly, the banking sector will be totally revolutionalized and customer has started operating his bank accounts using own UID number. Secondly, All G2C transactions may be simplified to the extent that money may get transferred directly to the beneficiary account from State/ Central headquarters, which government of India has recently introduced in the form of ‘Direct Cash Transfer (DCT)’. Thirdly duplicity, leakages, pilferage etc can be totally checked. Fourthly, The doorstep delivery of all services may be done through some BC model or through CSC / Internet or mobile service will result in mainstreaming of the marginalized with noble goal of financial inclusion.

Contact Information

Institution Name:   District Administration, Dhanbad
Institution Type:   Government Department  
Contact Person:   Mahendra Narayan Singh
Title:   DIO, NIC  
Telephone/ Fax:   03262312404
Institution's / Project's Website:   dhanbad.nic.in
E-mail:   mn.singh@nic.in  
Address:   NIC District Unit, DC Office, Collectorate Building
Postal Code:   826001
City:   Dhanbad
State/Province:   Jharkhand
Country:   India

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