BY ANINDYA BANERJEE
New Delhi, Aug 17 (IANS) As part of the Centre’s performance evaluation, as many as 17 Union ministries and government departments are literally in the red for scoring less than 50 in the government’s ‘Overall DBT Performance’ ranking.
The worst performer was the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research that scored just 8.55 per cent out of 100. This ranking, which exposed the poor scorecard of key ministries like IT or Minority Affairs, was meant to ascertain how different ministries and departments of the Centre are faring in ensuring Direct Benefit Transfers (DBT) to beneficiaries, given the Modi government’s renewed thrust on it ever since the lockdown began in March.
The ranking, which was done by a body that came under direct supervision of the Cabinet Secretariat, slotted anyone who scored above 80 per cent in the deep green zone suggesting excellence, while anywhere between 70 to 80 per cent as light green signifying good.
Those who scored anywhere between the range of 50 to 70 per cent are in orange suggesting that they need to improve and those scoring below 50 per cent are in red signifying poor performance. As much as 17 central ministries and departments find themselves scoring below 50 per cent.
Some of the key ministries and departments that found themselves in the red are the Ministry of Minority Affairs, Department of School Education and Literacy, Ministry of AYUSH, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) among others. However, the top performer has been Hardeep Singh Puri-led Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs and followed by Dharmendra Pradhan-led Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas.
Among the various metrics that the government considered to evaluate the final score are performance of end-to-end digitisation, performance in use of Aadhaar and mobile, their performance in portal and reporting compliance to assess the progress in development of schemes and also through estimated savings compliance.
However, the base on which the score was decided was the ministry and government department’s end-to-end digitisation, said a government source.
With the bulk of the weightage on this segment, as much as three ministries score a duck in the segment suggesting they could not or did not provide end-to-end digitisation, at all. They are the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), Ministry of Earth Sciences and the Department of Heavy Industry. In fact, as many as 22 Union ministries and government departments scored below 50 in this all important segment, according to the ranking of the government itself, even as the government is keen on making ‘Digital India’ a grand success.
In comparison, different ministries and departments fared relatively better when it came to their performance in portal and reporting compliance to assess the progress in development of schemes. Only 6 Union ministries and government departments came under 50 per cent score with the worst being the Ministry of Earth Sciences with a score of 23 per cent. However that wouldn’t help much in the overall score given that this segment had less than half the weightage that digitisation had.
There were as many as 17 Union ministries and departments that scored less than 50 per cent in the category of use of Aadhaar and mobile with the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research faring worse at below 7 per cent. Though a very small amount of weightage was given to reporting on estimated savings, believe it or not, 36 ministries and departments didn’t bother to take it seriously resulting in a zero. They included the Ministry of Tourism, Department of Health and Family Welfare, Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises among others.
This unique ranking on the Direct Benefit Transfer scheme which ensures funds are deposited straight into the accounts of the beneficiaries, comes after the Centre earlier released state and Union territory-specific performance that showed BJP-ruled Haryana faring best and TMC-ruled West Bengal as worst, triggering a political row.
However, with these rankings, the Modi government has taken the transparency game a notch up and tried to answer its critics that it evaluates itself too. However, with an impending and speculated Cabinet reshuffle in the offing, this performance may well affect the rejig, given the Prime Minister’s thrust on performance.
(Anindya Banerjee can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)