Lessons from Andhra Pradesh: building state capacities for welfare
Andhra Pradesh's Smartcard project provided substantial economic savings to taxpayers and welfare beneficiaries
The government of India allocates more than ₹ 2.5 trillion a year to the social sector (including subsidies), but the delivery of services is marked by high levels of leakage and corruption. Weak governance plagues service delivery across sectors and programmes ranging from education, health, Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS), and Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS). Yet, governments are often tempted to focus energies on announcing new programmes and schemes, rather than on building state capacity for better implementation of existing programmes. This is partly due to political incentives: specific programmes can better deliver patronage to target voter groups, and the returns on investing in implementation capacity may not be seen within one electoral cycle.