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Can direct benefit transfer strengthen the Swachh Bharat Mission? Learnings from three districts in Madhya Pradesh, India

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In order to address some of the challenges faced in implementation of Indian government's flagship programme Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin), the Madhya Pradesh state government introduced the direct benefit transfer of incentives to beneficiary households in 2016. This system uses an android application and web portal for digitising the processes, resulting in direct transfer of toilet construction incentives into beneficiaries' bank accounts.

This WEDC conference paper is based on a study that brings out the experiences of the direct benefit transfer model, based on field research in three districts of Madhya Pradesh. Findings indicate that the system has resulted in improved monitoring, efficiency and transparency; as well as reduction in scope for corruption. However, a few bottlenecks were observed including process gaps, community access, capacity building, equity and ethical considerations. The paper also brings out the key enablers for effective implementation of the model in large-scale government programmes.

Date: 15 October 2018