haryana’s tryst with e-payments

Haryana is one of the first states in India to move towards e-payments of welfare programmes. Early last year, it began stopped disbursing its social sector pensions through sarpanches, and began using banks and banking correspondents instead. However, after six or so months, the state government called off the project and went back to the old approach. Given that the rest of the country is also moving towards e-payments, what does Haryana’s experience have to tell us? Is the new channel better at rooting out corruption? Is it more cost-effective at delivery than the erstwhile model?

ET emailed some of these questions to Ashok Khemka, the Director of the state’s Department for Social Justice and Empowerment. Read the interview here. You might also want to see this related story on the economics of the bank-BC model.


on forest diversions

The government plans to make the diversion of forest land for industrial, development or mining projects more predictable by adopting a ‘Go, No Go’ style classification for forests on the basis of their ecological value. A group of ministers (GoM) on measures to tackle corruption has approved a clean-up act in forest clearances that would make acquiring such land a tad costlier, but easier.

the whole story by my colleague vikas, with some inputs from me, here.

Some questions about the Banking Correspondent model

These are the heydays for the banking-correspondent (BC) model. Banks want to use them to extend banking into villages. The government wants to use them to deliver welfare payments.

In this followup to the financial inclusion story late last month, i argue that this confidence being reposed in the BC model is a tad premature.