Intro: To eliminate out the ineligible beneficiaries of government schemes and to have a foolproof accurate database for the needy, the Telangana Government did a ‘Intensive Household Survey-2014’.
A virtual bandh took place for a massive mega Intensive Household Survey (IHS) held across the State of Telangana aptly, titled 'Samagra Kutumba Survey-2014' on August 19. Perhaps unprecedented in Independent Indian an intensive household survey in Telangana, the country’s youngest State was carried out to map the socio-economic profiles of nearly 4.5 crore people. Said as the biggest exercise by any State, it aimed to enumerate more than 90 lakh households in the State in a single day.
The estimated number of families across Telangana is 99,41,000 while 3.70 lakh enumerators including police were deployed for collecting the information. What prompted the survey according to the State Chief Minister, Chandrasekar Rao was that there were several loopholes in the past surveys and the manipulation of the previous Congress regime that are proving costly for the state exchequer.
“As against 84 lakh households, there are 91 lakh white ration cards and 15 lakh pink cards issued. Where are those beneficiaries? Every government scheme is linked to the white ration card which is issued to families below poverty line. Similarly, Arogyasri (a health scheme where a beneficiary can join a corporate hospital for treatment, duly reimbursed by State government is linked to white ration cards and so is the case with housing and social welfare pensions,” Rao said.
“In order to weed out the ineligible beneficiaries of various government schemes and, at the same time, have a foolproof accurate database of the needy, the Telangana Government decided to have a ‘Intensive Household Survey-2014’ on a single day”, he added. The fact is that in some districts of the State the beneficiaries outnumber the total population of the district itself. The enumerators were asked to check copies of documents pertaining to property, house tax, registration certificates of vehicles held, LPG connection, Aadhar Card, Disabled certificates and weaker section housing beneficiaries. Telangana natives living in other places including abroad came to their native places for the survey.
The survey in question was not without hiccups. Andhra Pradesh High Court heard a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by an Advocate challenging the decision of the State government and contending that the survey was being carried out without due notification and infringement of right to privacy of citizen. The High Court ruled out that since the disclosures where voluntary as claimed by State government the right to privacy was not violated.
Many political rivals of the Chief Minister claimed that non-natives are being targeted but their fears were allayed as there was no questionnaire on nativity of the residents. Enumera-tors of the Intensive Household Survey (IHS), conducted throughout Telan-gana, complained that houses not organised serially according to door numbers posed as a challenge in completing the survey within the expected time.
AP Chief Minister Chandra Babu Naidu enthusiastically presented all relevant documents and got them enlisted in the Telangana census. Meanwhile, the collected data would be compiled in all the districts. As many as 381 data entry operators were appointed by the administration to include the data.
By any measure, the unprecedented exercise, undertaken by the Telangana government, of enumerating the socio-economic status of over 4 crore people on a single day needs to be appreciated. By a very conservative estimate, close to 10,000 crore public funds in Telangana alone are going into the wrong hands. The economic data collected by the enumerators such as the monthly income and personal property will now come in handy to weed out bogus beneficiaries and thus reduce the burden on the exchequer while ensuring that the needy continue to get protected.
—N Nagaraja Rao from Hyderabad