India’s rollout of a direct cash transfer program and other similar social protection programs is a “logical marvel”, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said on Wednesday.
“From India, there is a lot to learn. There is much to learn from some other examples around the world. We have examples from almost every continent and every income level. If I look at the case of India, it’s actually quite impressive,” Paolo Mauro, deputy director of the IMF’s fiscal affairs department, told reporters at a press conference here.
“In fact, just because of the sheer size of the country, it’s a logical wonder how these programs that seek to help low-income people reach literally hundreds of millions of people,” he said. in response to a question. on the impressive direct cash transfer program successfully implemented by the Indian government.
There are programs that specifically target women. There are programs that target seniors and farmers. Perhaps the interesting part is that in these examples there is a lot of technological innovation, he said.
“In the case of India, one thing that stands out is the use of the unique identification system, Aadhaar,” Mauro said.
“But also in other countries there is more use of sending money via mobile banking to people who don’t actually have a lot of money, but have a mobile phone,” Mauro said.
“So to be somewhat innovative in identifying people, in processing their requests for transfers through digital means, in deploying funds through, again, mobile banking. This is something countries can learn from each other. We’re also trying to be a bit of a gathering place here where people can compare those kinds of experiences,” he said.
Observing that the IMF is collaborating with India on the application of new technologies, Vitor Gaspar, Director of the Fiscal Affairs Department, said that India is “one of the most inspiring examples of the application of technology to solve very complex problems of targeting aid to the people who need it most”.
The IMF also works with many African countries in the area of government technology. “And also in Africa, there are very many examples of innovation, which is just as relevant and inspiring. So the exchange of experiences that Paolo was talking about is something that we try to organize, and the amount of learning that can take place is actually quite amazing. There’s a lot going on in India, Africa and other parts of the world,” Gaspar said.
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