The International Monetary Fund (IMF) deemed India’s deployment of a direct cash transfer scheme and other social welfare programmes as a ‘logistical marvel’. Speaking to the media on Wednesday, an IMF official said that the Indian social welfare programmes were impressive as they reach ‘literally hundreds of millions of people’.
“From India, there is a lot to learn. There is a lot to learn from some other examples around the world. We have examples from pretty much every continent and every level of income. If I look at the case of India, it is actually quite impressive,” Paolo Mauro, Deputy Director of the Fiscal Affairs Department at the IMF, told reporters.
“In fact, just because of the sheer size of the country, it is a logistical marvel how these programmes that seek to help people who are at low-income levels reach literally hundreds of millions of people,” he said in response to a question about the impressive direct cash transfer programme being successfully implemented by the Indian government.
Mauro noted that India has enrolled programmes targeting women specifically and that there are schemes for the elderly and farmers.Perhaps the interesting part is that in these examples, there is a lot of technological innovation, he said.
IMF NOTES INDIA’S AADHAAR INITIATIVE
The IMF official underlined the country’s ‘striking’ Aadhaar scheme.
“In the case of India, one thing that is striking is the use of the unique identification system, the Aadhaar,” Mauro said.
“But in other countries, also, there is greater use of sending money through mobile banking to people who actually do not have a whole lot of money, but they have a cell phone,” Mauro said.
“So being somewhat innovative in identifying people, in processing their applications for transfers through digital means, deploying funds through, again, mobile banking. This is something that countries can learn from each other. We also try here to be a little bit of a convening place where people can compare these types of experiences,” he said.
The Director of the IMF’s Fiscal Affairs Department, on the other hand, stated that the IMF had been collaborating with India on new technologies and observed how ‘complicated’ issues were solved with the help of means.
Vitor Gaspar said that India is ‘one of the most inspiring examples of the application of technology to solve very complicated issues of targeting support to the people who need it most.’
Gaspar underlined that the IMF was associated with African countries for innovation.
“And also in Africa, there are very many examples of innovation, which is relevant and inspiring as well. So, the exchange of experiences that Paolo was talking about is something that we are trying to organise, and the amount of learning that can take place is actually quite surprising. There is a lot going on in India, in Africa, and in other parts of the world,” news agency PTI quoted Gaspar as saying.