Leveraging Digital Public Infrastructure for building inclusive social protection systems

This report investigates the potential of harnessing digital public infrastructure (DPI) to optimise and make social protection systems more portable. This report lays out an actionable vision for an inclusive social protection system in India that delivers portable benefits to one of its most vulnerable populations, migrants. The report contends that DPI’s “whole-of-government” approach not only helps unlock the benefits of portability but can also help address coordination issues that fragment social protection delivery, and improve backend integration to allow a single entry point to multiple schemes, thereby reducing transaction costs for individuals, and establish positive feedback loops by channelling accurate, up-to-date data to inform the evolution of social protection programmes. This report seeks to place these arguments within the context of India’s diverse socio-economic, geographic, and demographic landscape. It uses the bottom-up approach to study specific challenges in making social protection programmes effective and portable in a complex and fragmented welfare ecosystem. The study incorporates an in-depth analysis of three major welfare programmes - the Public Distribution System (PDS), the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) and the Building and Other Construction Workers (BoCW) Act.