Shekhar Ramachandran Iyer

208 Shekhar_Iyer

Placed at:   Nayagarh, Odisha

Education: MSc. (Tech.) Information Systems, Birla Institute of Technology & Science Pilani, Goa Campus

Prior work experience: 

  • Worked for one year as a Software Engineer in Reflexis Systems (India) Pvt. Ltd., Pune   

One key work during fellowship
Issue:

  • The Central and State Governments provide old age pensions to Below Poverty Line (BPL) citizens in two categories. Those aged between 60 & 79 are entitled to Rs. 300 as monthly pension while those over the age of 80 receive Rs. 500 every month. Every Development Block/ Sub-district (Block) maintains a database of all the pensioners in these two categories and uses this to determine a pensioner’s monthly entitlement. A pensioner, on turning 80, has to submit an application to the concerned Block official who would then verify the person’s age in their system to do the needful. This takes time and leads to erroneous outcomes and corruption. Keeping such a system of a large number of beneficiaries manually updated over the years also involves a lot of effort that could be put to better use in a human resource starved environment.

What was done:

  • The intervention was to create a simple Excel based system to maintain updated beneficiary details.
  • The system tracks the age of a beneficiary automatically updating it every year.
  • Given a single database, it automatically creates and maintains two separate lists of beneficiaries, one fore the 60-79 age group and another for 80+ pensioners. As soon as a person in the 60-79 age group turns 80, their records are removed from the existing list and added to the 80+ list.

Impact:

  • The system automatically determines who is entitled to receive how much assistance while also automatically enhancing it when they turn 80. Hence, a pensioner does not have to submit a second application on turning 80. This has brought in more transparency and reduced avenues for corruption and harassment by officials. 
  • It has also removed drudgery involved every year while manually updating pensioners’ ages. The automation reportedly saves a minimum of 15 days per year otherwise spent in updating the ages of more than 11000 old age pension beneficiaries in the Block.