New portal to rate citizens' welfare scheme eligibility

New Karnataka govt portal to rate citizens' eligibility for welfare schemes

Karnataka offers about 250 welfare schemes but most of them still follow the manual process

Rajeev Chawla, Additional Chief Secretary, e-Governance. Credit: DH Photo/S K Dinesh

Karnataka has designed a new technology platform that will not only allow online applications for welfare schemes, but also score citizens to determine who needs a benefit the most, a move that will come in handy when there are too many applicants. 

The platform, Suvidha, functions directly under Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai, who is pushing the welfare plank in the election year, and is part of several e-governance initiatives being rolled out by the government. 

Additional Chief Secretary (e-Governance) Rajeev Chawla said Suvidha is an integrated platform that will help citizens discover schemes and then aid them in applying.

“Suvidha is different from the Seva Sindhu, which is meant for services such as certificates or documents. Suvidha is for welfare schemes that involve a direct benefit,” he explained.

Also Read | Family ID will be the backbone of the welfare State: Rajeev Chawla

Karnataka offers about 250 welfare schemes but most of them still follow the manual process, and in many cases, the number of beneficiaries applying for a scheme is more than the allotted budget. 

For example, the Dr BR Ambedkar Development Corporation received 17,300 applicants for borewells under Ganga Kalyana against 930 that can be sanctioned this year. Ultimately, applicants are selected on a ‘first come, first serve’ basis.  

“Under Suvidha, we will come up with a ‘need score’ that can guide departments on choosing beneficiaries who are in need of benefits the most. We’re currently working with departments to finalise the scoring parameters,” Chawla said. 

According to Suvidha project director Abhishek Vasantha Naik, citizens logging into Suvidha should enter basic demographic details.

“The data will be automatically verified as Suvidha is connected to various other IT systems, such as Kutumba (family database), FRUITS (farmers) and others. Only information that cannot be verified from the existing databases needs to be checked offline by the concerned departments,” he said. 

The system ensures that only eligible citizens can apply for welfare schemes. Suvidha is also linked with DBT, so payments will be made directly into the beneficiaries’ bank accounts. 

Suvidha will also act as a feeder to collect more citizen data. “It consumes and contributes data,” Chawla said. “Suvidha is based on the ‘ask-only-once’ principle. We ask citizens to enter data only once,” he said. 

The Arivu student loan scheme of the Backward Classes Welfare department is already live on Suvidha. "Another 125 welfare schemes of social welfare, sericulture, disabilities and other departments are being onboarded,” Naik said.

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