Scaling Up a New Funds-Flow Mechanism for Centrally Sponsored Schemes in India
Low administrative capacity and pervasive corruption constrain the performance of social programs in many developing countries. The increasing promise of e-governance for delivering public services makes it possible to design mechanisms with fewer agents intermediating the delivery process. Evidence from a randomized evaluation of a large public employment program in India, the MGNREGS, found that such redesigns reduced leakage by decreasing the number of potential bribe-takers in the system, and increased the efficiency of funds distribution by reducing the funds float in the system. Building on this work, the J-PAL South Asia (J-PAL SA) policy team worked closely with the Government of India (GoI) to develop a roadmap to scale-up the policy lessons from the MGNREGS study and apply the same mechanism for other Centrally Sponsored Schemes of the GoI. Through this grant, J-PAL SA hired a Policy Consultant to provide full-time support to the GoI for this scale-up over the course of one year. For more on the partnership with the Ministry of Rural Development, see this story about the scale-up and this blog post from January 2018.