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TCS to run automated rural job scheme Pilot project launched in AP; leakages can be plugged, says Ramadorai

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Our Bureau

Chennai, Feb. 2

TATA Consultancy Services Ltd, which is involved in automating the pilot phase of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, feels that automating the whole project will eliminate leakages to a large extent.

The pilot project of the scheme, which was launched on Thursday, will run for two months in 13 districts of Andhra Pradesh.

The scheme is to be implemented in 200 districts across the country to ensure a minimum number of working days for the rural unemployed.

The next step, said Mr S. Ramadorai, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, TCS, should be to link the job seekers to a training and education system by providing them vocational education so that they can get employment on a regular basis.

Automating the rural employment guarantee scheme, a brainchild of the UPA Government, will eliminate leakages in such a scheme, make it more visible, ensure that job seekers get employment within 15 days of enrolling themselves and within 5 km from where they live, and the beneficiaries get the exact amount under the scheme.

In an interaction here, Mr Ramadorai said a project of such magnitude had scope for leakages. These could be in drawing up fraudulent schemes, fraudulent muster, inflated schemes, ghost workers and distribution of money to the beneficiaries through any number of manual processes. These would be eliminated through automation.

Automation, he said, ensured greater transparency of schemes approved as well as progress achieved, complete reconciliation of work and wages, reduced data capture efforts and consequently, lower expenditure on administration costs, and a data warehouse of all those beneficiaries under the scheme.

TCS had studied the rural employment guarantee scheme in Maharashtra, which has been in vogue for a little over three decades, and came up with a model on how the present scheme could be automated.

There were a lot of manual processes, which resulted in leakages, especially of the kind where the beneficiaries did not get the exact amount that was due to them. Automation also ensures better monitoring of the schemes on the ground.

TCS had interacted with field level Government officials, ministers in the Andhra Pradesh Government and those at the Union Rural Development Ministry before coming out with an automation package.

TCS' engineers would be involved in implementing the scheme at the field level, for which the company had developed software. It is up to the Centre to decide on what it wants to do when the scheme is extended to cover 200 districts throughout the country.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated February 3, 2006)
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