TCS's NREGA framework, an end-to-end IT solution, has successfully automated Andhra Pradesh Government's rural employment guarantee scheme. A web-based data centre aids in the monitoring and review of the scheme on a continuous basis. The solution has brought transparency to the scheme, reduced frauds significantly and improved efficiency in processes.
The Commissionerate of Rural Development (CRD) is part of Department of Rural Development of Andhra Pradesh and undertakes the implementation of watersheds and land development programmes for improving rural livelihood in the state. CRD is also responsible for implementation of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS).
In 2005, the Government of India passed the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA), guaranteeing 100 days of wage employment in a year to every rural household across the country. The Act provides a social safety net for vulnerable groups and is also aimed at containing the migration of the rural poor to crowded urban centres.
The Andhra Pradesh Government was one of the frontrunners in implementing this programme, and recognized that it would require strong systems for the effective management of the scheme. The contemplated outlays were on an unprecedented scale and therefore transparency and accountability were key issues. It was also important to ensure that the scheme did not fall prey to the rampant corruption that has plagued such programmes in the past.
ICT was identified as a tool that would enable the implementation of NREGS, especially as the size of the programme was very large, not only from the geographical and financial perspective but from the perspective of the size of the target group of beneficiaries as well. ICT would ensure transparency and help in information dissemination, and would facilitate online monitoring and evaluation of the programme.
Govt of AP required an end-to-end ICT solution with local language interface to ensure that the objectives and entitlements of NREGS would reach the wage seeking rural households. Early on, TCS had studied the draft bill on NREGA, analysed a similar scheme that was implemented in Maharashtra and had proposed an ICT solution to the Government. Therefore, TCS was selected as a partner in this engagement, to study the processes from state level to Village Panchayat and design a system which could meet the programme requirements and work in the Indian rural environment.
The system developed by TCS was based on distributed architecture and had two major components:
Programme Implementation System: This system, developed on the Microsoft platform, helps implement the program at the Panchayat/Mandal/Block level. The transactional data could be uploaded through several means − WAN, dial-up or physical media – depending on the available connectivity. Important features of the system were:
• Job card generation and printing in vernacular languages
• Detailed engineering estimates of works proposed
• Direct payment to wage seekers and material suppliers
• Complete reconciliation of wage payments and work progress
• Real time tracking of days worked and wages paid
• Material indenting, receiving, payment and reconciliation capability
• Close monitoring and tracking of works and payments through 'Dashboards'
• Tracking inflow and outflow of funds
• Detailed analysis of data for assessing and improving the system implementation
• Generation of MIS reports
Programme Monitoring System: This system consists of a data centre which consolidates the transactional information for the state, and a portal providing a consolidated view of the entire program information. This facilitates the progress tracking, monitoring and social audit of the program. Other features are:
• Web server to view data over the internet
• Tracking of Program Implementation by authorized officials/ citizens
• Grievance management
The TCS team and the CRD identified payment of wages as weakest link in the process chain. Hence, a framework for disbursement of wages using an automated solution was designed, consisting of three distinct software components – a laptop-based one for enrolment of beneficiaries by capturing finger prints data, a Point-of-Service device for disbursement of wages by authenticating bio-metric data and a portal hosted on the data centre. Thus TCS was able to provide a comprehensive solution that successfully automated the MGNREGSAP and the project has won many national and international awards. 9948041594
TCS’ solution provided the CRD the following benefits:
• Transparency and visibility of all transactions to all the stakeholders
• Increased accountability since all details of personnel and officials involved were available on the system
• Reduction in fraud by effectively blocking all possible leakages in the system
• Reduction of effort and administrative costs due to the use of IT and automation wherever possible
• Accurate and faster wage payments, through the use of automation and biometric authentication
Effective programme monitoring, through the centralization of data and generation of MIS reports
• Facilitation of Social Audit by making the portal available in both Telugu and English. By making data available for public scrutiny, the NREGS Portal facilitated social auditing of the NREGS implementation, under the Right to Information Act.
“I am writing to express my deep sense of appreciation at the sustained commitment being shown by your TCS colleagues in the development of the IT-based monitoring system for the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act in Andhra Pradesh. The system has been presented to the Finance Minister Shri P. Chidambaram, the Minister for Rural Development, Dr. Raghuvansh Prasad Singh and the Deputy Chairman Planning Commission, Shri Montek Ahluwalia. All three of them were very impressed and lauded the TCS contributions. There has been all-round praise for what TCS has done and you may have seen a number of media reports too on this.”
- Jairam Ramesh,
Minister for Environment, Government of India