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Breaking Barriers to Access Social Protection: A review of Save the Children’s approach in Rajasthan, India

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Save the Children Finland

This study is a review of the interventions developed by Save the Children to improve people’s access to government social protection programmes in Rajasthan, India. It aims to understand their appropriateness and their alignment with national and state initiatives and scope for wider scale-up.

The intervention seeks to enhance access to social protection by strengthening the capacity of panchayats (local governments) in three ways: by setting up a Panchayat Management Information System (PMIS) that can help panchayats systematically identify eligibility and facilitate access; by supporting panchayats to organize social protection camps to ease registration for applicants to various schemes; and by helping beneficiaries use statutory transparency and accountability tools to resolve their grievances.

The project has been appropriately designed to meet the causes underlying low uptake of social protection among target populations in Rajasthan, and in India more broadly. The project’s complementary activities are well suited to address issues of lack of awareness, costs and complexity of access and social barriers. Further, the project’s focus on capacitating panchayats is highly relevant as the systematic strengthening of their capacity is missing, given the fragmented nature of the social protection system in India. Most of the project components are well aligned with existing national and state policies and initiatives. Although there are initiatives that partially overlap with the PMIS at the state level (e.g. the Jan Aadhaar Repository, an integrated database containing data on households in Rajasthan, including their socioeconomic information and access to various schemes), they are very nascent and no mechanisms are envisioned for sharing data with panchayats in the medium term. PMIS plugs this gap and its durable contribution will involve building the capacity of panchayats in terms of data collection, data management, and data-driven planning and service delivery.

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