- Globally acclaimed as a logistical wonder, India’s Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) system uses digital public infrastructure to immediately distribute beneficiaries’ rewards from multiple government initiatives.
- According to reports, DBT has been used in 310 government programs across 53 ministries, with an estimated 1.14 percent of GDP saved as a result.
Dignity Preservation as a Crucial Benefit:
- Although the usual conversations surrounding DBT center on eliminating corruption, cutting leaks, and expanding coverage, one important but little-discussed feature of DBT is that it upholds the dignity of the impoverished.
- The change in strategy, which sees government assistance flow straight to people without the need for middlemen, has a significant impact on the mental health of the impoverished.
Dignity in the Context of Poverty:
- When examining the notion of dignity in relation to poverty, it is recognized that, even in the absence of corruption or leaks, the impoverished have historically been required to participate in a “poverty parade” in order to get government assistance.
- In a civilized and compassionate society, it becomes imperative to acknowledge that every person, regardless of financial situation, has an equal right to dignity.
The Individual Rights Perspective on Poverty:
- A rights-based approach examines poverty from the standpoint of individual rights and deprivation, in contrast to the meritocratic view that holds that poverty is the result of a person’s lack of work or capacity. \
- This strategy emphasizes shared responsibility within society and calls for an awareness of the historical circumstances that gave rise to poverty.
Burden of Poverty and Rawlsian Justice:
- A rights-based perspective holds that everyone in society, even the wealthy and privileged, bears some of the burden of poverty.
- Institutions need to be built with a Rawlsian understanding of fairness, understanding that luck and other outside forces beyond an individual’s control play a role in success in addition to inherent abilities.
Preserving Dignity Through DBT:
- The application of DBT helps to protect the impoverished’s dignity by removing the need for them to look for assistance from middlemen.
- By guaranteeing that the impoverished receive government benefits, DBT changes the perspective from one in which the poor receive benefits to one in which the benefits reach them.
Extending DBT Model to Other Areas:
- The article proposes applying DBT’s design ideas to other fields, such the legal system.
- The article highlights the cry of underprivileged inmates who lack access to capital and legal counsel, underscoring the necessity of a system that ensures the impoverished receive justice effectively and do not have to fight for it.
Challenges in Replicating DBT’s Success:
- The article acknowledges the effectiveness of DBT in using technology to effectively serve the impoverished, but it also highlights how difficult it will be to replicate this achievement in domains like the legal system.
- The article also urges group efforts to effectively solve the problem and provide justice to the impoverished in spite of the obstacles.
- The article concludes by highlighting the sometimes-overlooked benefit of DBT in maintaining the dignity of the impoverished and by arguing for the use of comparable ideas in other contexts to guarantee effective and respectable access to justice and other necessities.