Government Committees Current Affairs

Expert Group on SECC submits report to Rural Development Ministry

The Expert Group set up to prepare Socio Economic and Caste Census (SECC) has submitted its report to the Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD). The expert group was headed by former Finance Secretary Sumit Bose.

The objective of the expert group was to study criteria for allocation of resources to States and identification and prioritization of beneficiaries under various programmes using SECC data.

The MoRD will use the SECC data for identification of beneficiaries and generating priority list of beneficiaries under its programmes. Based on it appropriate guidelines were issued for making inter-state allocation to cover households under Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana and Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana – National Rural Livelihood Mission.

Key Observation of the Expert Group
  • The use of SECC data and its TIN Number will enable the government to improve the efficacy of its interventions and it will also result in improved outcome.
  • However there is need for regular updation and verification of SECC data in order to eliminate the need to mount standalone SECC in long run, which can put additional burden on public resources.
  • The SECC has the potential to function as Social Registry Information System (SRIS) from being only census-like socio-economic database. SRIS will have several advantages in implementation of social sector schemes.
  • The use of SECC data will lead to better budgetary planning and allocation of resources for various programmes.

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Union Government constitutes Amitabh Kant Committee to push cashless transactions

The Union Government has constituted a new committee to form a strategy to expedite the process of transforming India into a cashless economy.

The committee will be headed by Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant. It has been tasked with identifying various bottlenecks affecting access of digital payments.

Terms of Reference of Committee

  • Identify and operationalise in the earliest possible time frame user-friendly digital payment options in all sectors of the economy.
  • Identify various digital payment systems appropriate to different sectors of the economy and coordinate efforts to make them accessible.
  • Engage regularly with Central ministries, state governments, regulators, local bodies, district administration, trade and industry associations to promote adoption of digital payment systems.
  • Estimate costs involved in various digital payments options and oversee implementation of measures to make such transactions between citizens and government cheaper than cash transactions.
  • Implement an action plan on advocacy, awareness and hand-holding efforts among public-, micro-enterprises and other stakeholders.

Background

The committee was set up following a directive from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) to back up the demonetisation move. The Union Government is working towards moving all government transactions to the cashless mode, through a new single window e-payment system that businesses or individuals can use to make payments to any central or state department.

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