Social Science

SRIS likely to be big leap to reduce poverty, track welfare schemes

Courtesy: Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation

From ProMass knowledge desk

The government of India is working on introducing a Social Registry Information System (SRIS) to monitor its welfare schemes. The system will allow the government to monitor the well being of beneficiaries under various centrally sponsored rural welfare schemes. The move is expected to reduce frauds and duplication of social and economic benefits, and also provide a monitoring mechanism for the living standards of beneficiaries. The immediate aim of the exercise is to move 10 million households across 50,000 panchayats out of poverty by 2019.

Courtesy: Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation

Courtesy: Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation

The idea is to expand the scope of the Socio Economic Census (SECC) of 2011 by regularly updating the data for each household – which are covered under the survey. The SECC captures the standard of living of households in rural India and the government wants to use it for delivering benefits to the underprivileged.

The introduction of the SRIS has been proposed by the Sumit Bose (former finance secretary, Govt. Of India) Committee in its report submitted to the central RD Minister on January 13, 2017. The Bose panel has suggested one register for all programmes and favoured the SECC data for the purpose. The panel has proposed the creation of a social registry which combines the SECC data and the Temporary Identification Number (TIN), a unique number that helps identify each household, to create a database of the beneficiaries. The Ministry of rural development has reportedly decided to implement the Bose panel recommendation.

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

Socio economic caste census 2011

The socio economic caste census 2011 is the first comprehensive exercise to estimate India’s rural poverty levels. Nearly one of the three people in India’s villages or about 31% of the rural population is poor with an income hardly enough to buy even the bare essentials.

Three out of four households in rural India earns less than Rs 5000 per month.

In more than half the cases, i.e., 51.8% of the total number of rural families, the main income-earners barely manage to make both ends meet as they are working as manual or casual laborers. 56% of the rural Indian households have no land or property.

About 30% of the households were directly engaged in farming but another 51% were employed as farm or manual laborers.

According to the reports the analysis of the findings shows that 31.2% of India’s rural households can be called poor. About 275 million people in rural areas live in deprivation a state of being where people struggle to make subsistence living. Of the total 179.7 million households in rural areas, the SECC database has identified 107.3 million as those facing deprivation and hence eligible for social assistance.

In 2002 a similar census had estimated India’s rural poverty at 36% of the population, about 267 million. In 10 years only 8 million people moved out of poverty.

The SEC census covered 640 districts with households that have motorized 2/3/4 wheelers or fishing boats, Kisan credit cards with Rs 50,000 credit limit, a member with a government job or earning Rs 10000 per month were excluded as poor. The households without shelter, destitute, beggars, manual scavengers, primitive tribes and bonded labors were considered as poor.

The statistics reveal that 4.5% of households pay income/professional tax. 5% have a member with a salaried government job. 11% own a refrigerator.68.35% own a mobile phone.3.5% have a member with a salaried private job.74.5% households have a highest earning member who makes less than Rs 5000 a month. Around 20% own a vehicle – 2/3/4 wheeler or fishing boat.

Among states Madhya Pradesh has emerged as the poorest with 24% poor households followed by Chhattisgarh 21% and Bihar 19%. The census highlighted how many of the poorest districts were lagging behind despite years of welfare programmes and state funded doles. The data also showed a majority of rural households fell in the low income category despite the country’s achievements in poverty reduction.

The SECC data analysis categorizes the population on the deprivation levels and will help the government prioritize schemes meant for the most deprived. The study also analyzed data from a caste wise breakdown of population for the first time since 1931.The SECC analysis uses an exclusion- inclusion method to do a headcount of the poor.

Deprivation Indicators of SECC

  • Households with 1 room having kucha walls and roof.
  • No member between 16 to 59 years of age.
  • Female head with no adult male member between 16 and 59 years of age.
  • Scheduled caste, Scheduled tribe and landless households.
  • Households with no literate adult above age 25 years.
  • Major income from manual labour.


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