Ease of Vetting: Digitisation can help streamline govt audits

Author: Vibhav Mariwala and Prakhar Misra

This was first published in Financial Express. The views are of the individual authors.

In the last decade, the Indian government has harnessed technology at large to improve policy outcomes. Digitisation has been tremendously useful in improving the delivery of development schemes and streamlining internal government processes, not without its own controversies. 2021 should seek to learn from prior experience, at the same time, push for greater adoption of technology in governance. One such function, yearning for digitisation, is the audit of government processes.

India has demonstrated well how digitisation can improve key governance functions. The Direct Benefit Transfer has made money transfers worth Rs 8,200 billion to an estimated 900 million people since its inception in 2013. During Covid-19, it has been especially helpful to transfer welfare payments to sustain the livelihood of 160 million beneficiaries. Similarly, the government e-marketplace (GEM) platform has improved public procurement by instituting efficient tenders and ensuring delivery of quality goods. Problems such as corruption, delay in payments and bureaucratic indiscretion have been redressed to some effect, saving an estimated `700 billion of taxpayers’ money. Other processes should see similar digitisation drives.

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