Registering for the Haryana government’s ‘Parivar Pehchan Patra (PPP)’ in January, Sonepat resident Navin Kumar was shocked to find himself listed as deceased in government records. It turned out that instead of his father Tek Ram, who passed away in 2018, the death certificate was issued in Kumar’s name. Given such common goof-ups in government data, including misspelt names and incorrect addresses, Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar is confident that his PPP unique family ID scheme will be a game changer.
The PPP is aimed at creating verified data of all families in the state to ensure that citizens are not denied social welfare benefits due to identification problems. On November 1, Haryana became the first state in the country to introduce the unique family ID, with 456 linked services, such as registration of births, deaths and property; student scholarships; and various welfare programmes. The state’s total expenditure for 2021-22 is pegged at Rs 1.55 lakh crore and Khattar hopes the social sector spending will reach more target beneficiaries through PPP.
The hub of data gathering for the scheme is the Chandigarh headquarters of the Citizen Resource Information Department (CRID), a nodal agency that directly reports to Khattar. Young professionals can be seen verifying the data collected via manual surveys and processing it for use by various departments. All verified data of residents is available to the authorities via the PPP number. This will do away with the need to present supporting documents while availing any government service. For instance, Haryana resident Shruti Malik and her husband did not have to provide their Aadhaar details while registering the birth of their child. Shruti’s PPP number not only furnished the information but also the details of the schemes for lactating mothers she was entitled to, along with her address and the bank account where the benefits could be credited by the government.
Related interview: ‘The task is to bring synergy in data’ – Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar
The PPP number has two components—a seven-digit family ID, and an eighth digit for individual family members. The PPP smart cards being issued to citizens holds data on the properties they own in the state, income (ascertained via surveys or the Central Board of Direct Taxes), pension drawn, as well as scholarship, health and other benefits available to them. “The deserving beneficiaries are often voiceless. The idea is to take governance to their doorstep,” says Khattar.
The project, though, has also raised apprehensions in quarters about the government becoming privy to people’s ‘sensitive’ information. A petition filed in the Punjab and Haryana High Court in October called for a stay on the scheme, arguing that financial details of families would be at the risk of misuse. Khattar maintains that the information contained in the family ID is already available in the public domain. Also, given the privacy debate surrounding Aadhaar, the Haryana government says it has not engaged any private agency for collection and processing of the data. “We are not asking for data. It is to be voluntarily shared by people for availing state government services,” says a top Haryana official.
Kanishk Maheshwari, co-founder and managing director of Delhi-based management consulting firm Primus Partners, feels that a family-based database will help the government comprehend the socio-economic situation better and improve delivery of schemes.
Khattar underscores the importance of family ID in governance: “Aadhaar is individual-centric and has served the purpose of curbing duplicity and leakage of funds, and taking benefits directly to the citizens. But our society is family oriented. We make policies based on the family structure. It (Aadhaar) had not identified dynamic data depicting families’ requirements.”
The Ashwini Vaishnaw-led Union ministry of electronics and IT is also working to create a Universal Family Registry (UFR), with the aim to have a unique family ID for better implementation of schemes by both the Centre and the states. Work on creating unique family IDs began in 2017 in Haryana as well as Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. Now, Chhattisagarh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh are considering it too.
The findings of the Socio Economic and Caste Census (SECC), commissioned by the erstwhile UPA government in 2011 and published in 2015, forms the basis for disbursal of various social sector benefits by the Centre and states. “Over 100,000 individuals have either got government jobs or become income-tax payees, but continue to draw benefits on the basis of the SECC. The new (family ID) system will weed them out and extend the benefits to the most deserving people,” says Khattar.
Of the estimated 6.9 million families in Haryana, 6.4 million have been issued a PPP number. “The PPP uses Aadhaar-based authentication to establish the unique identity of
individuals. An e-KYC is done at the time of updating data for certain fields. The use of Aadhaar for authentication is central to establishing the reliability of data in PPP,” says the Haryana official.
First, the CRID collects data from the Atal Suvidha Kendras across the state. Then it is verified by 20,000-odd hyper-local committees made up of five members. Each team verifies data of 300 families. The closest
estimates of income made by at least three members are accepted. Households with a total annual income of up to Rs 1.8 lakh are considered below poverty line (BPL) in Haryana, against the national standard of Rs 1.2 lakh. “With this ID, BPL beneficiaries can directly receive benefits in their bank accounts without having to fill any form,” says Khattar.
In April, during the second Covid wave, the family ID system was used to implement the state government’s plan to foot the medical bills of the affected BPL families who had availed private treatment, to extend the Rs 1,000 per day per patient incentive for private hospitals treating Haryana residents, and to disburse a lump sum of Rs 5,000 to BPL families treated at home. “The disbursal of benefits was 100 per cent and with almost no leakage of funds. Now, we are scaling up and linking all state welfare schemes to this ID,” says the state official.
The Khattar government has linked the Mukhya Mantri Parivar Samridhi Yojana to the PPP, wherein families are entitled to Rs 6,000 worth of benefits per year in the form of premiums for various government schemes. The government has identified 100,000 of the poorest families in the state to provide them assistance under the Mukhya Mantri Antyodaya Parivar Utthan Yojana, which aims to promote skill development and self-employment. “We have identified seven government departments and asked them to draw a strategy to increase incomes of such families to at least Rs 1 lakh a year,” says Khattar. According to officials, providing these families labour work—at Rs 400-500 daily—for 250 days in a year alone can help meet these income targets.
CRID chief V. Umashankar says Haryana’s 28 million people use government services in some form or the other, and standardising their data empowers the government to reach out to the deserving beneficiaries. “Finally, we have the data and it’s all verified,” he beams.
HOW DOES THE PPP WORK?
STEP 1: The Citizen Resource Information Department (CRID) gathers core data of family members—names, ages, relationship, family income, professions and education profiles, among other details.
STEP 2: Data is verified and a a PPP number is assigned to each family. The verified data of each family member—like scholarships, pensions, benefits of social welfare programmes, payments from government agencies—is mapped.
STEP 3: The bank accounts are linked to the PPP numbers assigned to every state citizen.
STEP 4: Citizens can use the PPP number to avail government benefits they are due. And since the data gathered by CRID is dynamic, providing the state government information in real time, it is able push benefits rather than wait for citizens to apply.